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Ontario tries to temper rising Toronto home prices with new tax

25 April 2017

"We sure think there's a need for more information".

Called Ontario's Fair Housing Plan, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne said the plan has been in the works for weeks after months of consultation.

Sales in Vancouver cooled previous year in the wake of a tax on foreign buyers.

- The foreign buyers tax won't apply to refugees and immigrant nominees, and a rebate could be available for those who get citizenship later.

- Align property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings with other residential properties. A rebate would be available for those who later become citizens or permanent residents, as a well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and global students. There are exemptions for homes that are under construction or were sold during the year, as well as condo units in buildings that prohibit renting.

Tal took issue with the province's plans to expand rent control, which now applies only to units built before November 1991, to all private rental units.

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Mr Tory says, "Vancouver recently implemented a vacant-home tax".

The plan has a number of initiatives aimed at the rental market with the biggest being the province's decision to expand rent control to all units built after 1991. Those buildings will now be subject to regulated rate increases tied to inflation, which is currently 1.5 per cent - previously landlords were able to demand whatever rent they wanted. To offset that, the government has also introduced a five-year, $125-million program to rebate a portion of development charges on new purpose-built rental properties in areas with low vacancy rates.

A standardized lease document for all tenants.

The steps to cool Toronto's hosing markets comes after Canada's top federal and provincial officials agreed this week that moves were necessary to bring in Toronto's roaring housing sector under control.

Ontario's government will also work with municipalities to identify provincially owned surplus land that could be used for affordable and rental housing development.

A government backgrounder on the measures announced today specifically mentions the practice of double-ending, when one agent represents more than one party in a transaction. She says that while she's rented for years in the city, she's been unable to find a new apartment with a rent she can afford.

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The federal and Ontario finance ministers and the mayor of Toronto met in the city to discuss how to tackle the housing market in the region, where the average price of detached houses rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago.

The measures - which include better reporting on foreign buyers - aims to be a starting point in addressing the many reasons that demand for housing in the region has been increasingly outstripping supply, sparking eye-watering bidding wars.

"In some ways, we have to realize that this is a good problem to have", Wynne said Thursday in a briefing.

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.

"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.

Since Ontario has the largest population of any province, it also has the advantage of economies of scale when delivering public services.

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