Ontario, the country's most populous province, announced on Thursday a set of measures aimed at cooling the Toronto housing market, including a tax on the foreign buyers who've been blamed for speculation.
The latest sales data came ahead of a meeting between Mayor John Tory and the federal and Ontario finance ministers to discuss soaring home prices in the Greater Toronto Area, which have leapt by more than 30 per cent in the a year ago.
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.
Northern Ontario Party leader Trevor Holliday slammed Premier Wynne today for focusing on housing problems in southern Ontario while ignoring the north.
The province is also expanding rent controls and giving Toronto and other municipalities the power to impose a tax on vacant homes - something that Toronto Mayor John Tory has been asking for.
Economists said they were somewhat surprised not to see any measures tackling domestic speculators, particularly considering the amount of discussion the topic had drawn.
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One of the easier measures governments can take is to not introduce any more incentives for first-time home buyers that would keep demand and prices high. House prices in surrounding communities have also surged, as buyers give up on the Toronto market and head further out to find real estate within their budget. But a recent report from realtor Royal LePage suggests the Vancouver market may be starting to bounce back.
The government will reportedly bring all tenants under the province's existing rent control system, ending the exemption that now allows unlimited rent increases in units built after 1991.
The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales last month hit a record high.
The solution from Vancouver, on the west coast, was to impose a foreign buyer tax.
A surtax of 15 per cent will apply to any transfer of land with one to six units of housing on it. Apartments of seven units or more, as well as all agricultural, industrial, and commercial property, are still fair game for foreign buyers.
A ban on flipping of pre-construction units by speculators.
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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.
Canadian officials across all three levels of government vowed to be vigilant in monitoring the Toronto region's rapidly accelerating housing market, including possibly taking formal steps aimed at curbing speculative activity. Over the past ten years, the annual rent increase guideline has averaged two per cent.
A rebate of development cost charges to encourage building of more rental housing.
With public concern and political pressure over the ongoing housing and affordability crisis now boiling over, a much-anticipated response from Ontario's Liberal government was announced this morning.
Ontario is also moving to collect more information on the housing market.
The province also indicated that they have a number of things on their To Do list including looking into assignments of new construction properties and providing more transparency into real estate transactions.
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Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said where you stand on the issue of Canada's housing market depends on where you live.