Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced a series of new policies last week aimed at curbing high rents and home prices, but even with our most advanced modelling no one can be sure of the real-world impact

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced a series of new policies last week aimed at curbing high rents and home prices.
Photo Credit: Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Ontario tries to cool superheated housing costs: Toronto and region

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In the face of skyrocketing housing and rental costs, the Ontario government has followed the lead of the west coast city of Vancouver.

In the face of many claims that foreign investors are artificially inflating housing prices, Ontario has put a 15 percent additional tax on foreign buyers.

It’s called the “non-resident speculation tax” and applies to non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying residential properties containing one to six units in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).

Because the skyrocketing Toronto prices for rents and homes have begun to spill over into a large neighbouring area all around southern Ontario, the plan affects the vast region now known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe. © Govt Ontario

The plan includes 16 measures to try to make house purchases more affordable and cool rental increases.

One of the measures included new rental increase limitations which had been applied previously to units built before 1991.

Reaction has been mixed with one developer saying with rent controls he will stop several apartment projects he had planned.

In making the announcement, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government will now wait to see the affect of the measures and take more action if necessary.

Home prices in Toronto have jumped 33 percent in the last twelve months, so that the average price of a house is not around one million dollars.

Toronto’s superheated housing market has already pushed up prices in surrounding areas. Some think the new measures to cool speculation will simply push speculators elswhere in the province and Canada © Canadian Press

Quick Facts

-After two consecutive years of double-digit gains, average house prices in the Toronto region reached $916,567 in March 2017, up 33.2 per cent from a year earlier.

-RBC Economics recently highlighted that housing affordability in the Toronto area for the fourth quarter of 2016 was at its second-worst level on record since the mid-1980s.

-According to Urbanation, the average rent per square foot for new leases in the Greater Toronto Area condo market rose 11 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 compared to a year earlier, the fastest pace of growth since at least 2011.

-Ontario’s average vacancy rate dropped to 2.1 per cent in the fall of 2016, from 2.4 per cent in 2015, the lowest vacancy rate since October 2003; in Toronto, the vacancy rate was 1.3 per cent, the lowest in 12 years.

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