Yesterday the province released it’s Fair Housing Plan, which is being marketed as the Provinces attempt to bring stability to the housing market by increasing supply, and protecting buyer’s and renter’s. Ultimately the main issue in our market is one of supply and not of foreign buyer’s snapping everything up, but people wanting to live in the area and buy a home. Unfortunately this plan isn’t likely to do much on the supply side.
Here’s the coles notes version of what is proposed:
- A 15% non-resident speculation tax on homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe for people that are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The new tax will only apply to the transfer of land with one to six single family residences (i.e. detached, semi-detached, townhomes and condos). The trax comes in effect today (April 21, 2017). The tax can be rebated for those who later attain citizenship or permanent resident status.
- Expanding rent control to private units built after 1991. Rental increases will be dictated by the Province and their annual rent increase guideline.
- The Province will develop a standard lease document to be used by landlords and tenants. In particular they plan to tighten the provision in the Residential Tenancies Act that allows an eviction of a tenant when it is for the “landlords’s own use.”
- Creating a program to leverage surplus provincial land assets across the province for the development of affordable housing.
- Enabling the City of Toronto and potentially other municipalities to introduce a vacant homes property tax. The purpose of which is intended to get the owners to either sell or rent their properties outs, thus adding them to the housing stock.
- Reducing the property tax rate on multi-residential apartment buildings so it’s inline with other residential properties.
- Introducing a $125-million five year program to encourage construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating some of the development charges.
- Empowering municipalities to use property tax rates to unlock development opportunities (i.e. imposing higher taxes on vacant land).
- Creating a Housing Supply Team made up of provincial staff who will work with developers and municipalities to find solutions to issues facing (holding up) specific housing development projects.
- Targeting issues of tax avoidance and speculation in the housing market of “paper flipping,” or as it’s called in the industry, assignment sales.
- Developing new rules and practices for real estate agents to ensure consumers are represented fairly (it’s about time!!!!). One of the targets identified is multiple representation (double ending) as well as increased standards.
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