The stove is hot and the pot is boiling over. Under mounting public pressure, the Ontario Government has revealed plans aimed at cooling the province’s heated housing market. Will these measures have any real impact or achieve their desired aim? It’s way too early to tell.
That said, we are facing a supply crisis that will not reverse course over-night, simply at the behest of government. We are facing a supply crisis that needs real, long term strategic solutions. Did today’s announcement deliver on that? Here’s a summary of what went down:
1. Introduction of new legislation that would, if passed, implement a new 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) purchased by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations.
2. Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991.
3. The government will introduce legislation that would, if passed, strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act to further protect tenants and ensure predictability for landlords.
4. Establishing a program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market housing and new, permanent, sustainable and affordable housing supply.
5. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, empower the City of Toronto, and potentially other interested municipalities, to introduce a vacant homes property tax to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, to address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant by speculators
6. Ensuring that property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties. This will encourage developers to build more new purpose-built rental housing and will apply to the entire province.
7. Introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to further encourage the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges.
8. Providing municipalities with the flexibility to use property tax tools to help unlock development opportunities.
9. Creating a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions.
10. The province will work to understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market
11. Working with the real estate profession and consumers, the province is committing to review the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions
12. Establishing a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market
13. Educating consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.
14. Partnering with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
15. Making elevators in Ontario buildings more reliable by establishing timelines for elevator repair in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA).
16. Working with municipalities to better reflect the needs of a growing Greater Golden Horseshoe through an updated Growth Plan