No measures that could boost demand for housing in Toronto: Morneau

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 20, 2017

Ontario's highly anticipated package of housing measures is set to be announced Thursday and will take aim at speculators, expedite more supply, tackle rental affordability and look at realtor practices.

Vancouver had been a major factor in the run-up in the national average price for several months, until the government slapped a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers past year that caused prices in the city to drop back. The official didn't comment on specific measures other than to say they would address supply and demand.

The report showed the number of newly listed homes rose 2.5 percent in March, taking the national sales-to-new listings ratio to 67.4 percent from 68.3 percent in February.

"I have three young millennials at home and I don't know how in the world they're going to get a starter home to get into the market", Sousa told CBC News ahead of the meeting.

"We are looking at a vacant home tax and whether that could ensure real estate in Toronto is first and foremost as it should be, a place to live, and as an investment second", the mayor said said at a joint press conference with Morneau and Sousa. "If we spread and distribute economic development across the province it can relieve the pressure on the housing market in the long term".

Excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, the average price was $389,726. "We think it'll have an impact on reducing speculative behaviour because we're saying that we're serious", said the federal minister.

"Today's meeting is the beginning of what I hope will be a co-ordinated response by all levels of government to keep the market stable", the mayor said.

Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberals are widely expected to reveal housing policy measures when Sousa issues his budget on April 27.

Tory, who has been pushing the federal and provincial government for more funding of affordable housing units, stressed that "the situation didn't happen overnight and it won't be fixed overnight".

A foreign buyers tax will slow but not stop money coming from Chinese investors, said real estate broker Tony Ma, whose HomeLife Landmark Realty Inc is one of the largest brokerages in Toronto serving buyers of Chinese descent.

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