Ontario will take steps next week to deal with rising house prices, but it will not follow British Columbia’s lead and impose a tax on foreign buyers.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says “something has to be done” to help people deal with soaring home prices in Toronto, especially first-time buyers who find it nearly impossible to save a big enough down payment to enter the market.
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But Sousa says he doesn’t want to do anything that would adversely affect real estate markets in neighbouring communities, and he wants more data on the impact of B.C.’s foreign buyer’s tax in Vancouver.
Home sales in Vancouver began to dip before the 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers was implemented in August, but those declines have accelerated since, plunging nearly 39 per cent last month compared with October 2015.
In the Greater Toronto Area, a record 9,768 properties were sold last month — up 11.5 per cent year-over-year — even as prices jumped 21 per cent from the same month in 2015.
Sousa will outline Ontario’s plan to address housing affordability in next week’s fall economic statement, but wouldn’t say if he plans to offer tax breaks to first-time buyers or take measures to help lower prices.