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Overview: How bad is the housing market?
Recent figures show Canada’s soaring home prices are more than just a Toronto-area problem – and if the real-estate bubble bursts, few parts of the country would escape the economic blow. Home sales across Canada hit a record high in March, with the actual national average price up 8.2 per cent compared with a year ago, and Toronto prices are up a record 33 per cent.
Two big political events will soon reshape how provinces and cities respond to the threat of a housing correction. One is the Ontario provincial budget, due to be released April 27, which promises to include new measures to cool the housing market. The other is the B.C. provincial election, where voters will weigh in on how Christy Clark’s Liberal government has handled the housing file.
Why Toronto’s price shock is Canada’s problem Vancouver’s vacant home surge moves to Toronto suburbs After lull, Vancouver housing prices set for rebound
What Ontario might do: The Ontario government has considered a tax on real-estate speculation by non-residents, which provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa has labelled “property scalping.” The province is expected to introduce housing-affordability measures on Thursday that could include other kinds of taxes: Toronto Mayor John Tory has floated the possibility of a vacant home tax, and Mr. Sousa said last month that he might consider a B.C.-style foreign buyer’s tax. The province will also start collecting data on prospective home buyers’ citizenship status, beginning next week.
What can governments do to cool Toronto’s housing market? Toronto eyes vacancy tax to rein in real estate speculation
What B.C. has done: What Mr. Sousa called “property scalping,” British Columbians came to call “shadow flipping” after a Globe investigation of the practice last year. In the wake of that investigation, Ms. Clark’s government adopted new measures to curb real-estate speculation. The B.C. government also implemented a foreign buyers’ tax and cities new powers to tax vacant homes, which Vancouver has begun to do.
How the foreign buyers tax could endanger B.C.’s housing windfall Four charts that explain the impact of the Vancouver region’s foreign buyer tax
One of the easier measures governments can take is to not introduce any more incentives for first-time home buyers that would keep demand and prices high. At an April 18 meeting, the federal, Ontario and Toronto governments agreed to dial down on policies that stimulate sales, meaning Ottawa and Queen’s Park will not expand tax credits or limits on RRSP deductions new home buyers can make for down payments.
Ontario’s package of housing measures will involve the rental market as well as home sales, Premier Kathleen Wynne said in Ottawa on April 19. Housing Minister Chris Ballard has said the province has been developing “substantive rent control reform” amid calls to end a rule that sees annual rent increase caps only apply to residential buildings or units constructed before November, 1991.
Rent asunder: Landlords using evictions, hikes to circumvent rent control, Toronto tenants say
Be careful: Toronto’s record-high sales numbers have renewed calls from analysts to think twice about entering the real-estate market. Here’s some reading material about the risks involved.
Rob Carrick: Six stunning numbers about Toronto real estate and your personal finances Monthly price increases for resale houses in the city are amazing enough in their own right. But when you look at them in the context of household incomes and budgets, they can blow your mind. How to lose money in real estate
Don’t bet the farm: Can you afford to own a home in Toronto without going into severe debt? Here are some resources to help you figure that out.
The Down Payment Tool: Find out when you’ll be a homeowner Gen Y: The ‘Can I Afford to Move Out?’ Calculator Just over 42 per cent of Canada’s young people aged 20 to 29 lived at home with their parents. Can these members of Generation Y accord to move out on their own? This calculator lets you know.
Rent responsibly: Even if you decide the housing market isn’t for you, the rental market has its pitfalls too. Here are some resources to help you navigate it safely.
Where in Canada can you afford to rent? Try our calculator
Get informed: The Globe’s House Price Data Centre offers detailed and exclusive data about where prices are headed in major cities. Stay tuned to our real estate hub for more news and personal finance advice.
With reports from The Canadian Press and Globe staff
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