Kathleen Wynne's Housing Plan Will Create Slums and Won't Solve Affordability Issues

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced a foreign-buyer tax that would apply to a large swath of southern Ontario and expanded rent control across the province.

At the time that was the really pressing issue, Wynne said. That kind of tax would discourage speculation and make it more expensive to "flip" homes, he said.

The measures are meant to improve housing affordability, the official said, asking not to be identified because the plans aren't yet public. The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent.

Canada's most populous province said Thursday that it needed to act urgently to stabilize a frothy real-estate market that prominent economists have warned has entered bubble territory.

It's too late for west-end tenants profiled in a Metro/Toronto Star story from earlier this month who were informed their rents would double in July.

Some builders likely will abandon rental projects in the pipeline under the provincial plan to extend rent controls to units built after 1991, which were previously exempt, said Jim Murphy, CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario. Tenants in newer units have complained of dramatic spikes in rent. These new measures include developing a standard lease and tightening regulations around landlords evicting tenants for their own use. "Things have gotten insane", she said.

"The landlord won't be able to try to push them out".

Speaking before the provincial announcements, leading agency, Royal LePage tells OPP.Today that whatever happens, all indications are that home prices will continue to rise this year.

Renters will lose big 3-5 years from now as fewer and fewer people decide to buy and hold condos as rental properties given the restrictions on how much they can increase rents each year. A ratio between 40 and 60 is considered a balanced market, and Canada's ratio shows a seller's market is in place.

"I look at housing as a place to live for people in this city. That's great because you're stopping a future problem, but there's still a problem at hand", she said.

Sousa says the province needs a "Made in Ontario" solution to the housing crisis and it needs it now.

Effective immediately, the NRST which deals with foreign buyers will be 15 per cent on all property purchased in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the area of south Ontario that is home to nine million Canadians. Anyone obtaining a permanent residency or Canadian citizenship within four years of purchasing their home would receive a full rebate of the NRST.

- Legislation that would allow Toronto and possibly other municipalities to introduce a vacant homes property tax in an effort to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out. If it cracks, the market will get its money out of CAD and ask questions later.

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

A C$125-million, five-year program to encourage construction of new rental housing.

Sousa has signalled new housing affordability measures may be part of his government's upcoming budget, taking aim at what he called "property scalpers" in public comments last week. A few such sites are now being considered for a pilot project, including the West Don Lands, 27 Grosvenor (parking garage for the former Coroner's building) and 26 Grenville (podium of the former Coroner's building) in Toronto.

  • Leroy Wright