There's less than one week to go until the federal government tables its national housing strategy report on November 22, following months of consultations with the provinces and territories, industry experts and everyday Canadians. What will, or should, our national housing strategy look like?
Prospective homebuyers in Toronto -- get used to one thing: ever-increasing prices. Either that or move further out in the GTA. Or rent. These are the limited options -- and unfortunate unintended consequences -- caused by government policy and market forces in the Toronto area.
Nationally, real estate markets remain healthy, with home values showing modest to strong price appreciation in almost every Canadian city. New measures introduced by the federal finance ministry on October 3, designed to cool the housing market, have led to a decline in sales in Vancouver.
Getting a first-time mortgage from a Canadian bank is like getting security clearance to work at NORAD. Income, credit history, source of down payment funds... are all key measurements to qualifying. These rules, of course, only apply to Canadians. Foreign buyers, some have speculated this week, may be receiving preferential treatment.
For months the government had been in denial over the issue: overblown, isolated to a few neighbourhoods, it said. Since then its approach has gone from "the market will correct itself," to a "bold action plan," to legislating a retroactive 15 per cent tax on foreign ownership.
Now that B.C. has introduced a 15-per-cent foreign buyers' tax intended to calm real estate purchases by non-Canadian residents, speculation is rampant that similar legislation is on its to Ontario -- or more specifically, Toronto. Like their counterparts in Vancouver, realtors in Toronto want nothing to do with such action.
"Greater Vancouver is a special place in terms of property ownership. People come here from all over the world, and feel safe and at home. This has created a firestorm with respect to owning property, not only from our neighbours to the south, but also China, South Korea, Iran, India and other parts of the world."
Foreign investors and a shortage of single-family homes are driving the luxiry market.
The Conservatives' pledge to spend $500,000 on collecting "comprehensive data on foreign buyer activity in Canada's housing
A petition is calling for restrictions on overseas investors.