Ontario to tax non-resident foreign housing buyers 15%

Ontario brings in foreign housing tax to cool Toronto market

Toronto prices rose 33 percent in March from a year earlier and the average price of a detached home topped C$1.2 million ($903,000) last month.

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.

"What we're aiming to do is to bring in some initiatives that will help people in that whole continuum of housing right from rental through to purchasing a home without having unintended consequences", she said in Ottawa.

He has said speculators are reselling contracts for pre-construction homes multiple times before closing, using assignment clauses.

A spokeswoman for Premier Kathleen Wynne said Tuesday a tax on non-resident speculators is one of the measures being considered.

According to Gordon, another way of taxing speculation is to tax real estate sales when the seller has only owned the property for a short amount of time, with the highest rates for those who've owned the home less than six months. The act introduced policies to increase intensification and density in new housing development.

Most of the actions aimed at increasing the supply of homes are centered around the development of new rental apartment buildings. The CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario, Jim Murphy, made exactly that warning after the government's announcement. Toronto is also likely to see a vacancy tax introduced to curb so-called absentee landlords, a measure backed by Mayor John Tory.

- The creation of a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions.

Ontario announced a slew of measures including a tax on foreign buyers and expanded rent control as part of a plan to temper escalating home prices in Toronto.

The province has extended rent controls to all rental apartments including those built after 1991.

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A tax on assignments would be a good step forward to limit speculation in the new construction market. It looks like Wynne's plan to "solve" the housing crisis is going to work about as well as her plan to "solve" the electricity crisis.

Expand rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991, with rent increases capped at 2.5 percent.

"While we support the government's interest in ensuring viable rental options for Ontarians, well intentioned yet dramatic changes to rental policies meant to improve options for renters will have unintended consequences, resulting in a stagnant rental industry, declining rental assets, and less choice for today's tenants".

What does a non-resident speculation tax entail?

Real estate agent Sabrina Ataullah-Jan said that Canadian properties are undervalued and that is why the Toronto area has an influx of foreign investment.

Years of historically low interest rates have also flooded the market with potential home buyers, bidding on a dwindling supply of homes.

Ontario's economy benefits enormously from newcomers who decide to make the province home.

- Set timelines for elevator repairs to be established in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority.

"The timing (of Wynne's plan) is most disappointing given that it's our spring market and we also have a real uptick in the last 10 days in terms of inventory", said Dianne Usher, senior vice-president of Johnston and Daniel, a division of Royal LePage. Others, however, believe the figure was much higher.

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