Feds To Close Tax Loophole Used By Foreign Homebuyers

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TORONTO — The federal government has announced measures intended to stabilize the real estate sector amid concerns that pockets of risk have emerged in some housing markets, particularly those in Toronto and Vancouver.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the federal government will close a loophole so that only people who were living in their home as a principal residence before the home was sold are eligible to claim a capital gains exemption.

bill morneau
Finance Minister Bill Morneau makes an announcement on housing in Toronto on Monday. (Photo: Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The federal government will also bring in a more rigorous mortgage rate stress test for all insured borrowers in an effort to make sure borrowers can sustain interest rate hikes or income losses, Morneau said.

"Exceptionally strong activity in certain markets, particularly in Toronto and in Vancouver, mean that people are concerned about the state of the housing market,'' Morneau told a news conference Monday in Toronto.

"Across the country, many middle-class families looking to buy their first home see prices climbing often out of their reach."

"Across the country, many middle-class families looking to buy their first home see prices climbing often out of their reach. Some are taking on high levels of debt in a rush to buy before it's too late.''

The changes come as concerns mount that housing costs in Toronto and Vancouver have become increasingly unaffordable for many Canadians while foreign investors purchase homes and turn them around for a quick profit.

A report released last week by Swiss bank UBS singled out Vancouver as being at greatest risk of a housing bubble in the world.

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