Ontario housing measures expected to have short lived impact, experts say

Toronto real estate for sale sign

Ontario brings in foreign housing tax to cool Toronto market

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.

"Limitless rent increases are now going to be illegal and renters have the protection that rent generally won't increase more than around 2.5 per cent a year", he said.

The average price of a detached house in the Greater Toronto Area hit $1.21 million last month, climbing 33.4 per cent from a year ago, according to the latest data from the Toronto Real Estate Board. "There are speculators who enter into agreements to purchase property with no intention of buying them or living them, crowding out families who want to buy their own home", said Sousa.

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.

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.

When young people can not afford homes "we know we have a problem and we know we have to act", Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday at a briefing. The price rises reflected confidence in Ontario's economy but when young people could not afford homes, "we know we have a problem and we know we have to act", she added.

"We've already known for months that this was probably coming down the pipeline, versus Vancouver where you woke up one morning and there was a 15 per cent tax", he said.

The province will also expand rent control to all private rental units, including those built after 1991. It also includes rebating a portion of development charges to encourage rental construction under a five-year, $125-million program.

In addition, it would empower Toronto and potentially other interested municipalities to introduce a tax on vacant homes to encourage owners to sell or rent unoccupied units.

Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, said the measures could help make homes more affordable for residents.

The danger of governments imposing even more taxes on real estate (without increasing supply) is that they will be playing Russian roulette with the major asset of most homeowners - the market value of their home and the amount of equity they have in it.

Valerie Bruce, a renter living in Liberty Village, recently received a notice saying her rent would double from $1,600 to $3,200, so she chose to move. "The argument that developers need to be able to increase rent by as much as 100 per cent or they won't keep building rental units, just does not hold water".

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".

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

"We know that a strong rental market in Ontario is one that balances affordability for tenants with the right conditions for continued investment in rental properties by landlords".

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