Ontario's premier says a package of housing measures that will be announced within days will tackle both the rental and home sales sides of the real estate market.
Officials from Canada and its most populous province will meet on Tuesday to bring Toronto's hot housing market to heel, under pressure from voters angry that speculators or foreigners are fueling a bubble in Canada's largest city.
The decision by the province of Ontario's government will impose a 15 per cent "Non-Resident Speculation Tax" on non-Canadians and non-permanent residents buying residential properties in the metropolitan area of nearly 7 million people.
Ontario will introduce a 15% tax on the purchase of any residential home bought by a non-resident or citizen.
Still, home prices in Toronto increased 6.2 percent last month alone, the biggest one-month gain on record, according to a benchmark price index by the Canadian Real Estate Association. She said she hoped Hamilton would ask for the powers to charge taxes on vacant houses. "If there's more that we need to do, if there's changes we need to make, then we will make them".
Rent control has been one of Toronto Mayor John Tory's main concerns, especially after recent published reports about some tenants in the city receiving notices that their rent would double.
The province has extended rent controls to all rental apartments including those built after 1991.
The new policies are expected to include sweeping rent control changes, a tax on foreign buyers and efforts to tamp down speculative investment, The Canadian Press has learned.
"My goal as Mayor is to ensure housing is affordable in Toronto for all age groups and for all income levels", Tory said in a statement Thursday.
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"We expect the measures to slow down activity in Toronto's housing market in the near term, not only due to their direct impact but also due to the impact of the uncertainty regarding their ultimate impact on potential buyers", he said.
Sousa's arsenal will reportedly contain far more than housing taxes and include steps such as rent control.
New measures are also being introduced by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), set to be implemented on May 15th.
Ontario will also establish a program to identify provincially owned surplus lands for affordable and rental housing, with an eye to using a few specific sites such as the West Don Lands in Toronto for pilot projects.
"You can't go to a barbecue in the province without people talking about real estate and how everyone has a son or daughter who can't buy a home and wants to get into the market", Hudak said.
Sousa has also mused about a tax on foreign buyers or vacant homes, as well as looking at ways to speed up more supply becoming available.
Home buyers and renters may benefit from these policies 5-10 years from, assuming the measures taken to improve supply actually result in an increase in the supply of housing.
While cash-strapped tenants and home-seekers are fundamentally in favour of these new measures, the question remains, what will it all mean for Ontario's purpose-build rental industry?
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