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'It's more than a good start': How province's housing measures hit Hamilton

22 April 2017

A highlight of the Ontario government's response is a 15% tax on foreign buying.

Mayor John Tory, Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, and Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa addressed the media following their meeting on Tuesday. "During that period we might see some slowing in sales", Tal said.

"The skyrocketing cost of renting or buying in Ontario and the Greater Golden Horseshoe in particular is the unwanted effect of a strong economy with a promising future", said Wynne at a press conference that also blamed speculators for rising housing prices and landlords for gouging renters.

The bubble warning and new housing measures came the same day troubled Canadian alternative-mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. fell as much as 21 percent, the most intraday in 11 years, after the Ontario financial regulator alleged that executives misled investors and broke securities laws.

The path forward is mired in a lack of data, uncertainty on the role of foreign money, low interest rates and a strong Toronto economy.

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London and NY have shown that rent controls are a disincentive to building new units, because they curtail the potential return on investment for pension funds and other investors in these kinds of developments, said the business group's CEO. The government should consider market-based solutions, such as portable housing benefits, which give cash to renters who need it (as opposed to waiting in line for scarce social housing). While this is good news, our government has become increasingly concerned about rapidly rising rents and housing prices, and their impact on the many people looking to find a home.

- A program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market-price housing and affordable housing. The price increases reflect confidence in Ontario's economy, but when young people can not afford homes "we know we have a problem and we know we have to act", she said. This will include: developing a standard lease with explanatory information available in multiple languages; tightening provisions for "landlord's own use" evictions; and ensuring that tenants are adequately compensated if asked to vacate under this rule.

Further, the approach to lowering Toronto's housing prices attempts to solve numerous issues without considering whether government measures, such as restrictive zoning or current rent controls, have contributed to these woes in the first place.

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

Before imposing any new measures on real estate agents, Ontario government said, it will review the regulations governing the industry, including the body representing agents (the Ontario Real Estate Association) and the provincial regulator (The Real Estate Council of Ontario), CBCNews reports said.

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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.

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

The provincial government has been facing growing pressure to take action on soaring real estate prices in Canada's most populous city and its surrounding areas.

The measures are aimed at cooling down a hot real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average price of detached houses rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago. The B.C. practice involved existing homes, whereas Ontario's measures specifically target pre-construction homes that are sold on assignment before they're finished.

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