BUSINESS

Foreign Buyer Tax Coming To Ontario? Fin Min Reconsidering The Option

03/09/2017 04:58 EST

TORONTO — Ontario's finance minister says he is re-thinking a foreign buyers' tax as one possible option to cool the housing market.

The average price of homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area last month rose 27.7 per cent over last year and the average price of a detached home in Toronto is now more than $1.5 million.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said last year that Ontario would not follow the lead of British Columbia, which imposed a 15-per-cent tax on foreign nationals buying real estate in the Vancouver area.

charles sousa

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa at Queen's Park, February 17, 2015. The Ontario legislature is sitting after a long recess. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Instead, the provincial Liberal government doubled the rebate on its land transfer tax for first-time homebuyers to $4,000 and raised the same tax on homes that sell for more than $2 million.

Sousa says last year his thinking was ``let market forces prevail,'' but now he is concerned about people's ability to enter the market and ``the degree of fast appreciation in the short term and what will that do over the long term.''

He says he is considering a number of options for next steps, and ``a foreign tax is just one.''

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