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Wynne lays out plans to cool Ontario's sizzling housing market

CBC ~ April 20th, 2017

The province introduced plans this morning aimed at cooling Ontario's surging real estate and rental market, with the goal of making housing "fairer and more affordable."

Premier Kathleen Wynne said it's hoped the 16 measures will curb housing costs that are rising "way faster than people's paycheques."

"It's about helping people to be able to buy a home, to be able to rent a home or to stay in the rental home they're in," she said.

Many of the measures were reported earlier today by CBC's Queen's Park reporter, Mike Crawley, before they were outlined by Wynne.

They include:

  • A 15 per cent tax on home purchases by non-resident foreigners in Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Wynne said the tax would not apply to new immigrants who plan to live here, but speculators who will "never set foot in Ontario."
  • Expanding the province's existing rent control system to cover all tenants, not just those in buildings built before 1991 under the current rule. CBC Toronto first broke the news when Finance Minister Chris Ballard said the government would move to remove the 1991 rule, an issue that was highlighted in a series of stories called "No Fixed Address." The rent increases must come through approved legislation, but will take effect today, April 20.
  • A rebate of development cost charges to encourage building of more rental housing.
  • A standardized lease document for all tenants.
  • A ban on flipping of pre-construction units by speculators.
  • A review of the rules governing the conduct of real estate agents.
  • New powers for Toronto and other municipalities to introduce a tax on vacant homes to encourage owners to sell or rent unoccupied units.
  • A move to identify provincially owned surplus lands that could be used for affordable and rental housing development. in Toronto the areas identified include the West Don Lands and 27 Grosvenor St. and 26 Grenville St.
  • A $125-million, five-year program to encourage the construction of new purpose-built rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges.
  • At Thursday's announcement in the fast-growing west Toronto neighbourhood of Liberty Village, Wynne made the announcement at a news conference also involving Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Ballard.

The average price of detached houses in the Greater Toronto Area rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago, but Wynne says the issue extends throughout the Golden Horseshoe area.

Sousa says investing in real estate is not a bad thing, but he wants speculators to pay their fair share.