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Making Housing More Affordable

Ontario Introducing Housing Affordability Measures for Homebuyers and Renters

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. 

 

QUOTES

“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

here."

— Harinder Malhi, Member of Provincial Parliament, Brampton-Springdale

 

QUICK FACTS

 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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