Ontario unveils new measures to cool housing market

Morneau said the federal government will share data on the housing market with Ontario government and city officials to assess any new measures which might be introduced.

Sousa said he will soon introduce measures aimed at cooling the GTA's housing market. "If there's more that we need to do, if there's changes we need to make, then we will make them".

"The issue we're facing on housing affordability affects nearly everyone - those with lower incomes being priced out of the city and forced to commute hours every day to work, middle income earners struggling to afford rent and young couples looking to start a family and looking to acquire their first home and feeling an increasing sense of impossibility", he said.

The Toronto Star reported earlier, without saying where it got the information, that Sousa will announce some 10 measures ranging from rent controls to a new tax on speculators.

The forthcoming rent control legislation won't apply to tenants like Cecatto, who received rent hike notices before Thursday's announcement.

"I think what they are trying to do is have a little more coordination".

Policy-makers, think tanks and the Bank of Canada have issued repeated warnings that while concerns of an overheated housing market may be confined to the Toronto area, a correction could have repercussions for the national economy given the sheer scale of the city's real estate industry.

- With files from The Canadian Press. Our members build 95% of the new housing supply in the system. House prices in surrounding communities have also surged, as buyers give up on the Toronto market and head further out to find real estate within their budget.

- A 15-per-cent non-resident speculation tax to be imposed on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations.

"Wynne said the province would expand rent controls to all private rental units, including those built after 1991 which are exempted under current rules".

A standardized lease document for all tenants. Here are five potential measures the province could bring forward to tackle housing affordability.

The new legislation would also allow Toronto-and possibly other municipalities-to table a tax on vacant homes.

The province will implement a tax on vacant homes in Toronto as part of measures to address a lack of supply of affordable homes. "If the new construction (post-1991) exemption is completely eliminated, the other announced incentives to encourage new apartment construction will ‎be of limited value, particularly if interest rates move upward", he said. "The biggest problem is a shortage of homes, and that's because of the government's vision for a high density Ontario and its desire to use taxes and regulations to squeeze as much money out of sales and development as it can".

What Sousa didn't say is that the Liberals have more than doubled Ontario's debt to more than $300 billion since coming to power in 2003, which has made Ontario the most indebted sub-sovereign (non-national) borrower in the world.

The plan could come as soon as tomorrow and is expected to include rent controls, some type of levy on housing speculators, potentially a vacancy tax, rules to curb bidding wars and measures to discourage foreign buyers.

- The launch of a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures and any additional steps that are needed.

  • Leroy Wright