Ontario unveils new measures to cool housing market

A pedestrian walks between homes for sale in the Leslieville neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, March 4, 2017. The other is the Ontario provincial budget, due to be released April 27, which promises to include new measures to cool the housing market.

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

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan includes an additional 12 measures, such as introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to encourage the construction of new purpose-built rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. In Ontario, even that won't work if the province has misdiagnosed the problem: If prices in Toronto are a matter of scarce apartment supply and high domestic demand, no amount of taxing foreign investors is going to ease pricing.

"We think it will have an impact on reducing speculative behaviour because we're saying that we're serious", he said.

Canada faces "a dearth of data on whose doing what", Trudeau said.

Flanked by the provincial finance and housing ministers Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled her plan to address out-of-control home prices and rents, Thursday morning, in the shadow of Liberty Village condos where there's been no cap on how much landlords could jack up rents.

"There is now reason to believe that the market correction underway in Vancouver may be short-lived", he said.

She said the tax is aimed at "people looking only for a quick profit, not a place to call home".

In explaining the new rule, the government said the information is sought "to support evidence-based policy development with respect to Ontario's real estate market".

Zoocasa found that respondents in higher income brackets, defined as those earning $100,000 to $149,000, were the most likely group to be anxious about the rising cost of real estate; the company called this a surprising finding. "It's going to come down, and a lot of people are going to get hurt".

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Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement on Ontario's housing plan: "I welcome numerous actions announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne's government today". The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent.

- Government to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to clarify text of leases and compensate evicted tenants.

New housing-related taxes won't make Toronto affordable, either, warns Porter.

By exempting students from the NRST the province is intentionally keeping a door open to allow global speculators to buy up single family homes in their children's names - at the expense of tax paying residents who can't compete.

To appease landlords and developers, the government said it would align property tax rates for goal rental apartments with rates for other residential properties.

Providing municipalities with the flexibility to use property tax tools to help unlock development opportunities.

"(The measure) will encourage owners to sell or rent their unoccupied units", said Charles Sousa, the finance minister.

Home prices in the Toronto region rose 6.2 per cent in March, the biggest one-month gain on record, according to a benchmark price index by the Canadian Real Estate Association, and jumped nearly 30 per cent in the past 12 months.

Toronto is Canada's biggest city, and the runaway house prices have become a headache for the government with many first home buyers priced out of the red-hot market.

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