Ontario housing measures to deal with speculators, supply, rental issues

The Canadian Press has learned that the Ontario government will place a 15-per-cent tax on non-resident foreign buyers as part of a much-anticipated package of housing measures to be unveiled today.

- A program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market-price housing and affordable housing. "Those taxes and fees, especially Toronto's double land transfer tax, have added huge unnecessary costs".

A review of the rules governing the conduct of real estate agents.

The challenge for Wynne, Sousa, and Ontario Housing Minister Chris Ballard will be to introduce policies to improve housing affordability without toppling the real estate sector, which has come to represent increasingly significant slices of the provincial and national economies.

While ongoing collaboration with the federal government and City of Toronto is key to improving housing affordability for renters and those looking to purchase a home over the long term, our government is also aware that a response is needed now to address recent dramatic increases in rents and home prices.

The non-resident speculation tax will be imposed on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area - from the Niagara region to Peterborough - who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations.

The cost of a detached home in Toronto roared to a new record high of nearly $1.6 million in March, a 33 per cent climb over prices past year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

"Ultimately at the end of the day, you probably end up in a situation where the market absorbs the tax and keeps pushing higher", said BMO economist Robert Kavcic.

Tal said he suspects that over the next few years, builders who were planning to construct rental buildings will opt for condos instead or cancel the developments altogether, a move that would reduce the supply of rental units.

The city of Toronto and other municipalities would be empowered to ‎slap a vacant homes property tax to discourage investors from sitting on empty homes. This will contribute to our strengthened enforcement efforts.

Federal Minister Bill Morneau says Ottawa will help the province in a number of ways, including housing data collection and analysis, enforcement of tax compliance through Canada Revenue Agency, and anti-money laundering rules.

The plan also includes establishing timelines for elevator fix so that they aren't broken so often in condos and apartments.

That is what I view as my responsibility, not to look after the investment needs of people who chose real estate as their investment target. Rental increases for units built before 1991 were already capped by a guidelines set each year by the province.

  • Zachary Reyes