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Ontario brings in foreign housing tax to cool Toronto market

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To help Ontarians buy their first home, the province doubled the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund to $4,000 for qualifying first-time homebuyers, effective January 1, 2017, the news release said.

Rents are based on what the market can bear and, going by the very low vacancy rates in the GTA, Lobo thinks they're fair.

Toronto is Canada's biggest city, and the runaway house prices have become a headache for the government with many first home buyers priced out of the red-hot market.

Sousa has also mused about a tax on foreign buyers or vacant homes, as well as looking at ways to speed up more supply becoming available.

Toronto prices rose 33 percent in March from a year earlier and the average price of a detached home topped C$1.2 million ($903,000) last month.

It will also allow municipalities to impose a new tax on vacant homes and introduce rent controls for apartment buildings constructed after 1991.

Fresh from their triumphs on energy, health and other files, the Ontario Liberals plan to extinguish an "overheated" Toronto housing market.

But, similar to what transpired in Vancouver, the changes are unlikely to have a long-term impact on house prices in the Toronto area.

"We're not going to go down the road that British Columbia has gone down", she said.

The province will also expand rent control to all private rental units, including those built after 1991.

This set of 16 comprehensive measures would help more people find an affordable place to call home, while bringing stability to the real estate market and protecting the investment of homeowners.

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"You're looking to raise your family and grow in the community and you're being outbid and outpriced by people that are just using it as a commodity", said Fred Altbaum, 34, a marketing professional struggling to buy a home with his wife and daughter.

"This outreach to a subset of our membership shows not only a significant intention to create new, badly needed objective built rental housing developments in Ontario, but also the vulnerability of the projects should the current environment suddenly change without consultation or consideration", FRPO president and CEO Jim Murphy said. "They should be paying income on those issues, and I'll have more to say on that in the coming days".

The package will also deal with how to expedite the availability of housing supply, Sousa said, as the government has heard complaints from builders that the process is too cumbersome.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the new tax would not target immigrants, and a rebate would be available to foreigners who work in Ontario, those who subsequently get citizenship or permanent resident status and worldwide students.

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan includes an additional 12 measures, such as introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to encourage the construction of new purpose-built rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges.

Home sales across the country hit a record high last month, propped up by transactions in the fiercely hot market of Toronto, further fuelling concerns about the city's real estate sector.

I am pleased that the government will activate surplus provincial land like the West Don Lands to create new affordable housing, something I have been urging the Premier to do for some time.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said where you stand on the issue of Canada's housing market depends on where you live.

The three politicians made the comments after a special meeting to discuss the housing situation.

- Provisions that would require municipalities to consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes, among other things.

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