NEWS April 20, 2017
Ontario is taking action to make housing more affordable for homebuyers and renters by
introducing the Fair Housing Plan. This set of 16 comprehensive measures would help more
people find an affordable place to call home, while bringing stability to the real estate market
and protecting the investment of homeowners.
These measures include introducing a 15 per cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on
non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying
residential properties containing one to six units in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
Ontario’s economy benefits enormously from newcomers who decide to make the province
home. The NRST would help to address unsustainable demand in this region, while ensuring
Ontario continues to be a place that welcomes all new residents.
Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan would also expand rent control to all private rental units, including
those built after 1991, strengthening protections for tenants against sudden, dramatic rent
increases. In addition, it would empower Toronto and potentially other interested municipalities
to introduce a tax on vacant homes to encourage owners to sell or rent unoccupied units.
The province will also work with municipalities and other partners to identify provincially owned
surplus lands that could be used for affordable and rental housing development.
Housing is essential for families across Ontario, yet too many people are being affected by the
growing pressures of trying to buy a home or afford their rent. In particular, the GGH has
experienced dramatic price increases in recent months. While rising prices reflect the
economic strength of the region and have benefitted current homeowners, the cost of buying
or renting is creating a massive burden for too many people and families.
Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan includes an additional 12 measures, such as introducing a targeted
$125-million, five-year program to encourage the construction of new purpose-built rental
apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. The government will also
work to better understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and
excessive speculation in the housing market, such as “paper flipping” — a practice that includes
entering into a contractual agreement to buy a residential unit and assigning it to another person
prior to closing. The Fair Housing Plan will also include a new Housing Supply Team of
dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and
work with developers and municipalities to find solutions.
Taken together, these new policies represent a substantial, multi-faceted plan to address
Ontario’s rising housing costs so that families can access housing that meets their needs.
Making it more affordable to buy or rent a home is part of Ontario's plan to create jobs, grow our
economy and help people in their everyday lives.
“People work hard to provide for their families. They should be able to rent or enter the real
estate market without making great sacrifices or taking on a huge amount of risk. At the same
time, we recognize the need to protect the significant investment homeowners have made. This
plan balances those needs to stabilize the market and prevent a sharp correction that would be
harmful to everyone.”
— Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
“A strong housing market reflects Ontario’s strong economy. However, everyone deserves
housing choices that are affordable. Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan is a thoughtful way to address
the recent price increases in our housing and rental market, so that affordable housing is
available to people and meets the diverse needs of our communities.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
“We know that a strong rental market in Ontario is one that balances affordability for tenants
with the right conditions for continued investment in rental properties by landlords.
Strengthening Ontario’s rental market is an important way our Fair Housing Plan will help make
everyday life more predictable, affordable and fair for Ontarians so they can continue to put
down roots in the communities they love.”
— Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy
“Residents in Brampton work extremely hard to provide for their families, on a daily basis. Being
able to rent or enter the real estate market with their family needs to be more affordable for all
residents in Brampton and across the Province of Ontario. The Fair Housing Plan will make
everyday life more predictable and affordable and fair for everybody so they can continue to live
— Harinder Malhi, Member of Provincial Parliament, Brampton-Springdale
After two consecutive years of double-digit gains, average house prices in the Toronto
region reached $916,567 in March 2017, up 33.2 per cent from a year earlier.
RBC Economics recently highlighted that housing affordability in the Toronto area for the
fourth quarter of 2016 was at its second-worst level on record since the mid-1980s.
To help Ontarians buy their first home, the province doubled the maximum Land Transfer
Tax refund to $4,000 for qualifying first-time homebuyers, effective January 1, 2017.
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.
Ontario’s average vacancy rate dropped to 2.1 per cent in the fall of 2016, from 2.4 per cent
in 2015, the lowest vacancy rate since October 2003; in Toronto, the vacancy rate was 1.3
per cent, the lowest in 12 years.
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