Tag Archives: Toronto Real Estate Board

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Behind the numbers, Breaking down the market in March 2019

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Behind the numbers, Breaking down the market in March 2019

March 2019 sales figures followed a broader trend for the first quarter, with sales inline with the number of transactions reported through TREB’s MLS System during the first three months of 2018. Total March sales, at 7,187, were virtually unchanged from the number of sales reported in march 2018 (7,228). However, the March new listings statistic suggested that the market continues to be hampered by a lack of listings. New listings for March 2019 were down by 5.1 per cent compared to March 2018.

On the pricing front, the MLS Home Price Index Composite benchmark was up by 2.6 per cent year-over-year in March and the average selling price was up by 0.5 per cent to $788,335.

TAXES, OSFI AND SUPPLY

Whether it be proposed increases to the Toronto Municipal Land Transfer Tax, the strict OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test guidelines, or the low levels of housing stock available for purchase, there’s no doubt that relief is needed for the GTA housing market.

Indeed, the OSFI stress test continues to impact home buyers’ ability to qualify for a mortgage and TREB continues to press for a review of OSFI provisions and mortgage lending guidelines, including more flexibility around stress test provisions and allowable amortization periods for insured mortgages.

Similarly, while TREB commends the City of Toronto on the recently announced Housing TO – 2020-2030 Action Plan, a process we’re advising the City on, we question some of the City’s proposed sources of revenue that will be used for its implementation. Namely, a recently proposed increase to the Municpal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) on higher priced properties to fund the Housing Allowance Program. This tax is problematic because the MLTT is not a sustainable revenue source. This became clear during the recent City budget process. Plus, additional MLTT on higher priced homes could cause a trickle down effect, negatively impacting the supply of homes throughout the housing price continuum by preventing people from “moving up” the continuum.

Finally, while sales continue to trend downward when compared to the record highs seen in 2016 and 2017, supply is receding as well and by an even greater margin. This lack of available supply has created increased competition between buyers, thereby driving up prices and amplifying housing affordability issues in the city.

It’s clear that all three of these issues need to be addressed and TREB will continue to lobby all levels of government for housing and housing related policies that are fair to home buyers, sellers and renters alike.

Garry Bhaura is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit trebhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting

trebcommercial.com

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How the new government initiative could help condo buyers

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How the new government initiative could help condo buyers

The federal government wants to help you buy your first home. In the 2019 budget, the government unveiled brand new plans that, it says, will help young buyers who have been shut out of the real estate market.

This includes the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive and the expanding of the ‘Home Buyers’ Plan. Both can be used to buy a condo unit. Here is what you need to know.

Criteria to qualify

The new First-Time Homebuyer Incentive will allow eligible first-time homebuyers to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC). Eligibility means you have to have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage. That is five per cent for a resale home and 10 per cent for a new home. Your household annual income cannot exceed $120,000. Lastly, the insured mortgage cannot be greater than four times the participants’ annual household income. Meaning the mortgage cannot exceed $480,000.

Pay back rules not clear

It’s not clear how much has to be paid back; is it an equal equity share or money borrowed plus interest? Those terms and conditions are expected to be released by CMHC. But the government clearly states that no ongoing payment will be required while you own your first home or still have a mortgage payment on it.

How it claims to help

The thinking is this will lower your overall monthly payments, effectively making your home more affordable to live in then if you had to carry a larger mortgage. Here is an example the federal budget detailed:

If a borrower purchases a new $400,000 home with a five percent down payment and a 10-per-cent CMHC shared equity mortgage ($40,000), the borrower’s total mortgage size would be reduced from $380,000 to $340,000, reducing the borrower’s monthly mortgage costs by as much as $228 per month.

Old program limit increased

Along with this new initiative, the government proposes to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000. First-time homebuyers who have money saved in their RRSP can withdraw that amount without penalty to use towards the down payment on their first home. That money has to be paid back into the RRSP over 15 years. If you borrow the maximum amount you would need to deposit $2,333 a year back into your RRSP. Bear in mind that is on top of all the regular mortgage payments you would be making.

Little to help affordability

Critics say this will do little to help young people in Canada’s most expensive markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, as average home prices are in the seven figures. But these schemes could be advantageous for anyone looking to buy their first condo unit. According to the latest figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average price of a condominium apartment was $558,728 at the end of 2018.

Before the new initiatives were announced in the federal budget, Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, said, “The condominium apartment segment continued to be a key entry point into the GTA homeownership market in 2018. Higher mortgage qualification standards meant that many first-time buyers were looking for more affordable housing options.”

If you’re a first-time homebuyer shopping for a condo in that price range, you could be in luck. But for most others, these plans will do little to help Canadians afford to live in the most expensive cities.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Breaking down the GTA housing market in 2019

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Breaking down the GTA housing market in 2019

This year has gotten off to a good start with sales, listings and price all up on a year-over-year basis. This is encouraging, especially when the inclement weather experienced in the GTA on the last week of the month is considered.

There were 4,009 home sales in January 2019, up 0.6 per cent and listings were up 10.5 per cent with 9,456 homes listed on TREB’s MLS system in January. While the average selling price was up by 1.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis, after preliminary seasonal adjustment the average selling price edged lower when compared to the previous month.

One trend to keep an eye on as we move through 2019 is stronger price growth for higher-density lowrise (such as condo townhomes, duplexes) and condominium apartment home types.

As the market experiences increasing affordability pressures, it is likely that many of those looking to buy a home will prefer to purchase these often lower-priced home types. Much of the affordability pressure we are seeing in the GTA has been driven by the OSFI mandated two percentage point mortgage stress test, a provision TREB is urging the government to revisit with an eye toward more flexibility.

A BROADER LOOK AT THE GTA HOUSING MARKET THROUGH TREB’S MARKET YEAR IN REVIEW & OUTLOOK REPORT 2019

On Feb. 6, TREB released its Market Year in Review & Outlook Report. While you can download a copy of the report from trebhome.com, I want to highlight some of the exciting contents and ground-breaking research contained in this year’s issue.

The report takes an in-depth look at the market in 2018 and provides a forecast for 2019. The analysis is punctuated by TREB-commissioned Ipsos surveys of existing homeowners and intending buyers, and helps to predict what 2019 will look like in terms of sales and price. It also shines the spotlight on issues ranging from preferred home types to the impact of the new mortgage qualification guidelines on buying intentions. The report also breaks down the rental market, the commercial market, and the new homes and residential land sectors.

This year’s report focused on envisioning housing options and supply for livable communities and features TREB-commissioned research on transit supportive development from the Pembina Institute and a study on missing middle housing from Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Policy and Land Development.

The effects of transit-supportive development are highlighted by two real-life case studies – at Long Branch and Pickering GO Stations – and show that housing built within a 10-minute walk of a transit station, and in areas that feature a balanced mix of housing, jobs, shopping and services, can result in potential housing and transportation savings ranging from 10 to 56 per cent for individuals, families and retirees.

The Ryerson University Centre’s research offers some workable ideas on how to create more missing middle housing, which could fill the gaps in the types of homes needed and positively impact affordability. The study shows that there is plenty of opportunity to build this type of housing and that doing so could result in savings of between 20 to 49 per cent.

Garry Bhaura is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit trebhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting trebcommercial.com.

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Behind the numbers , A deeper look into the 2018 GTA housing market

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Behind the numbers , A deeper look into the 2018 GTA housing market

The story of the GTA real estate market in 2018 was one of moderation, with improvement of market conditions in the second half of the year.

Sales, listings and average selling price were all down compared to 2017: there were 77,426 transactions (down 16.1 per cent), 155,823 new listings (down 12.7 per cent), and an overall average selling price of $787,300 (down 4.3 per cent).

In the first half of the year, it’s likely that many would-be buyers chose to delay purchasing a home due to higher borrowing costs and the new mortgage stress test, which could have contributed to the double digit decline in the number of transactions.

On the flip side, a decline in listings, contributed to increased competition between buyers looking to find a home that meets their needs. In turn, this fuelled a resumption of moderate year-over-year price growth in the second half of 2018.

It’s also true that certain segments of the market performed better than others from a pricing perspective. For instance, home prices were up slightly in the city of Toronto where a large proportion of sales were of condos. The condo market was the tightest market segment last year, with substantial competition between buyers who were searching for relatively affordable ownership housing options.

It is important to remember that TREB’s market area is made up of over 500 communities and market conditions obviously unfold differently across these communities. This is why it’s important to work with a professional TREB member realtor who is familiar with local market conditions in your areas of interest.

For information on the GTA real estate market in 2018 and in December, check out the infograph accompanying this article

GARRY BHAURA is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him At TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.

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2018 web

5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

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5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

2018 web

With much of 2018 in the rear-view mirror, It’s been quite the year for the housing market in the GTA and elsewhere in Ontario. From sales and price fluctuations to supply concerns to rising housing costs. As 2019 approaches, here are five things we can learn from real estate in 2018.

 

1 Get used to the affordability issue

Get used to affordability challenges, especially in the GTA. This oft-cited issue is not going away any time soon, despite lobbying from the likes of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

Key economic fundamentals such as population and employment growth will continue to drive housing market demand. Over the next decade, almost 700,000 first-time buyers will target the GTA or Hamilton markets, according to a report from the Ontario Real Estate Association. Meanwhile, the supply of new homes is not yet being addressed, which contributes to rising prices.

With recent interest rate hikes and other changes, sales and prices in the GTA saw some moderation in 2018. But this will be short-lived, and a return to price growth is expected.

 

2 Increased government involvement – finally

Government lobbying by BILD and TREB seems to be paying off, in the sense that the Province is increasingly aware of the issues facing the industry – and buyers.

Buyers, you may not realize it, but you should thank BILD, TREB and other associations for that.

In late November, Ontario announced it was committing to a housing action plan “to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Like anything involving government, though, this process will likely be slow moving – meaning, some of the challenges, namely increasing housing supply – will take time to be resolved.

But at least the issues are on the agenda.

One real example of this improved awareness is Ontario’s recent plan to change the 40-year-old apprenticeship system in the province – a move the home building industry says is a “game changer.”

It’s a game changer because the new one-to-one ratio, a significant change from the existing 3-to-1 ratio, will enable home builders and renovators to more easily hire and train new apprentices. Besides creating more job opportunities for trades workers, the move also helps builders and renovators operate their businesses

 

3 Fixing on interest rates

The Bank of Canada raised its overnight rate three times in 2018 – January, July and October – to where it sits now, 1.75 per cent.

Canada’s major banks, as is usually the case, responded by immediately raising their own rates.

Naturally, all of this has Canadians feeling a little uneasy.

The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Index of Consumer Confidence confirms that rising interest rates and weaker wage growth have started to take their toll on confidence. With interest charges squeezing Canadian wallets and weakening wage growth offering little reprieve, consumers have become hesitant to make major purchases and are less positive about the state of their finances.

In its latest rate announcement on Dec. 5, the Bank of Canada noted that global economic expansion is slowing, and the effects of the “oil price shock” are being monitored.

“We expect that the Bank will not move the overnight rate until the effects of the declining energy sector are known,”according to interest rate comparison website ratehub.ca. “However, the Bank makes it clear that they still plan on raising the key interest rate in 2019, likely more than once.”

This moderated stance might put downward pressure on fixed rate mortgages, however, so Canadians may see better fixed rates in the coming weeks, ratehub.ca says.

 

4 Real estate is more local than ever

It’s a simple point that escapes some consumers: Real estate is local, and in 2018, it became more local than ever.

What do we mean?

Well, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and other major real estate bodies are mandated to oversee the national market.

So, when CREA issues a release that says Canadian home sales are down by X per cent, or when CMHC reports the national vacancy rate is down for the second consecutive year – and major media report such headlines – people tend to worry.

It’s essential to remember, however, that when you buy a home, you don’t buy the national market. You buy one house, on one street, in one neighbourhood, in one city and region.

If you live in Ontario, why do you care that Alberta’s ongoing oil industry struggles are pulling sales and prices down in markets in that province? Or that prices in Vancouver are even less affordable than in Toronto?

Forget the national headlines. Drill down into what’s happening in your market.

And why is real estate more local then ever? Because…

 

5 Lessons from Oshawa

General Motors Canada’s November announcement that it was closing its Oshawa assembly plant sent shockwaves not just through the province but all of Canada. To be sure, the loss of at least 2,500 jobs – not to mention untold positions in related suppliers – in a community of 170,000, is going to hurt. Hurt whom, and how badly, are the only questions.

This development should serve as a stark reminder to us all – of how important it is for cities to develop diversified, modern economies. Overdependence on any one ge, singular industries leads to overexposure in the case of downturns or, in GM’s case, outright shutdowns. It hurts the local economy, which impacts employment and wage growth, which impacts the housing market.

Oshawa, thankfully in recent years, has been diversifying its economy and expanding in technology, education and other industries. It will help, but the impact of the GM closure will likely play out over many months, if not years.

These developments could push housing in Oshawa into a buyers’ market, and prospective buyers could benefit from more options and softening prices.

In new homes, builders remain undeterred, encouraged by the longer-term growth and development throughout the Durham Region. Still, some may offer incentives such as discounts or inclusions to entice qualified buyers.

 

RELATED READING

GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Where are interest rates headed in 2019?

 

 

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GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

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GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

Although the Greater Toronto Area housing market is somewhat in balanced territory, buyers and sellers are both up against the ropes.

This year has changed so much from the last five to 10 years. Both buyers and sellers have been affected in both positive and negative ways. For me, when working with a buyer and investor client, it was always a tailored approach. However, now more than ever, we have to be extremely diligent when analyzing residential types, location and price range.

In past years, it was much more common to think about flipping real estate or short-term investments. Now? Not so much. There is a total shift to a minimum five- to 10-year hold. Since the introduction of the stress test, some real estate markets took a hit. Buyers are also now faced with additional challenges such as qualification rules and rising interest rates.

Glass half full

Although there are pros and cons in today’s market, take a glass half full approach. Just think, in the past, is was very challenging for a seller to move up to a bigger property. There were bidding wars, price increases that exceeded pay raises, and to top it all off, extremely low inventory – which meant buyers might have to settle for something they might not fully love. The trade-off was a low interest rate environment. If you were a seller, it was nice to think you could sell your property for top dollar, but the million-dollar question was where will you buy next?

Also read: GTA home prices continue to rise

Also read: GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Also read: GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

Today, if a seller wants to move up, they can usually find a good deal and sell their property for a fair market value. Maybe your property went down 10 to 15 per cent, however, you are also buying your next home for the same 10 to 15 per cent less. Another benefit to such market conditions is that there are more deals to be had.

Notably, there have been fewer first-time buyers out there recently. Even a larger down payment might not cut it anymore, due to higher interest rates. This is why the condo market is doing well, especially the smaller and less expensive properties, due to affordability. The new reality could well be more people renting for a longer period.

Rising rates

The qualifying rate today is slightly more than six per cent. “The recent rule change with regards to the stress test basically decreased people’s max mortgage amount by about 15 to 20 per cent,” says Michael Yosher, director of lending at Integrity Tree Solutions Inc. “The 2019 horizon looks like this trend will continue, as Bank of Canada and economists are predicting several interest rate hikes, which will further reduce the amount of mortgage a buyer will qualify for. This has really taken the wind out of first-time buyers. Family members helping out with gifted down payments and cosigning mortgage loans are the trend these days.”

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, in October 2018 compared to last year October, average sales prices were up 3.5 per cent. Although this is good news for some sellers, most of this price growth is driven by the condominium market, which at one point lagged behind detached, semi-detached and townhouse product.

Arie Buzilo is a real estate broker with Century 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc. Brokerage, and an investor specializing in buying and selling properties in the GTA.

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GTA home prices continue to rise

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GTA home prices continue to rise

Toronto homes web

Greater Toronto Area average home prices continued their upward trajectory in November, rising 3.5 per cent year-over-year to $788,345, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

GTA realtors report 6,251 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS system in November 2018, down by 14.7 per cent compared to November 2017, when there was a temporary upward shift in demand caused by the looming OSFI-mandated stress test at the end of last year.

“New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” President Garry Bhaura says. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth.”

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were down by 3.4 per cent compared to October 2018.  The average selling price after preliminary seasonal adjustment was down by 0.8 per cent, compared to October 2018.

Average home prices, November

Toronto (416)
2018: $842,483
2017: $803,540

Rest of GTA (905)
2018: $750,721
2017: $732,848

GTA
2018: $788, 345
2017: $761,410

“Home types with lower average price points have been associated with stronger rates of price growth over the past few months,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs on affordability, it makes sense that the condo apartment and semi-detached market segments experienced relatively stronger rates of price growth in November, as market conditions in these segments remained tight or tightened respectively over the past year.”

Looking at the housing market from a policy perspective, TREB says it is encouraged with the provincial government’s recent announcement and on-going public consultation regarding a housing supply action plan.

“Housing supply remains a key issue in the GTA market,” says TREB CEO John Di Michele. “More specifically, an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing types must be part of the conversation, as has been recognized by the provincial government in their consultation documents. Transit supportive and gentle density ‘missing middle’ housing should be a priority.”

 

GTA average prices and percentage gain by home type, November 2018

Detached: $1.01M, 1.3%
Semi-detached: $791,760, 8.3%
Townhome: $647,418, 3.1%
Condo: $556,723, 7.5%

TREB has commissioned research on these subjects and is holding a Market Outlook Economic Summit on Feb. 6, 2019.

“TREB is also encouraged that the provincial government remains committed to public transit expansion,” adds Di Michele. “TREB has long advocated for improvements to the Greater Golden Horseshoe transit and transportation network, and feels the time is right to have a conversation about the level of provincial and municipal responsibility that would be the most efficient arrangement to realize subway expansion sooner in Toronto, and the GTA, as this will impact the housing market.”

 

RELATED READING

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

 

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Ontario government commits to housing action plan

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Ontario government commits to housing action plan

Ontario web
Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Ontario government says it is committed to a housing plan that makes more good quality places to live available for “the hardworking people of the province.”

“In communities all across Ontario, people are struggling to find housing they can afford,” says Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re taking action to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Ontario is knocking down barriers to people getting housing they can afford that meets their needs, through:

 

  • Legislation that would make new rental units exempt from rent control, effective Nov. 15, 2018, while preserving rent increase limits for existing tenants
  • Ending the previous government’s expensive and ineffective Development Charges Rebate Program
  • Seeking public input on ways the government can remove barriers to building the right kind of housing in the right places. This input will inform a broader housing supply action plan. The consultation includes a downloadable toolkit so community groups can host local roundtables and share their thoughts with the province.

 

The demand for housing in Ontario has risen rapidly in recent years, driven by strong population growth and low interest rates. However, the supply of housing has not kept pace, leading to higher prices and rents.

Building more housing will also help make Ontario more attractive to businesses and investors, restoring the province to its rightful place as the economic engine of Canada.

“High housing costs are a barrier to job creators, large and small, because employees need affordable places to live,” says Todd Smith, minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Making housing more affordable will encourage people to start and grow businesses, right here at home.”

BILD reaction

“The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) of the GTA is very supportive of the development of a Housing Supply Action Plan for Ontario,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO. “Shortfall in supply is a key factor undermining housing affordability, increasing rents and creating barriers to home ownership. We applaud the Ford government’s commitment  to address key issues affecting the housing supply and ultimately the affordability of housing in the GTA.”

TREB approves

The Toronto Real Estate Board, for its part, applauds the Province’s announcement.

“The Toronto Real Estate Board applauds the provincial government for taking action to ensure that our city, region and province have an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing,” TREB said in a release.

Nowhere are housing supply and mix issues more of a priority than in the GTA, where TREB’s 53,000 members operate, the association says. “TREB realtors work with home buyers and sellers every day and they see the challenges caused by inadequate supply and mix of housing.

“We look forward to participating in the provincial government’s consultation process on this issue and helping our region and province to remain one of the best places to live in the world.”

RELATED READING

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

 

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Province rejects York’s request for more revenue tools

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Province rejects York’s request for more revenue tools

York

Homebuyers and owners, maybe you do have a friend in the Province.

The Ontario Conservative government has declined a request by the Regional Municipality of York for the authority to levy additional revenue tools, including municipal land transfer taxes.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) applauds the Province for taking a strong stand in support of homebuyers and sellers.

TREB says it has spoken out against the use of land transfer taxes as an “unwise” and “unfair” method for municipalities to raise revenue.

Had it been approved, the request would have given York Region the freedom to impose new taxes on items such as vehicle registration, land transfer, alcohol, entertainment and amusement, parking and tobacco.

“We are encouraged that the provincial government recognizes the pressures facing consumers and the potential negative impacts of municipal land transfer taxes,” TREB says. “(We) will continue to speak out to protect the interests of home buyers and sellers.”

RELATED READING

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

 

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Toronto vote

Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

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Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

Toronto vote

With municipal elections only days away, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released recommendations on what newly elected councillors, mayors, and regional chairs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can do to ensure housing affordability and choice for homebuyers and renters.

TREB also released the results of responses received from more than 200 municipal election candidates from across the GTA. Candidates were asked to respond to a TREB survey asking for their views on key housing issues that are the subject of TREB’s recommendations.

Both the policy briefs and candidate survey responses can be viewed at UnlockMyHousingOptions.com

“A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs showed that housing affordability was a top-of-mind issue for voters in this election,” says TREB President Garry Bhaura. “Housing affordability is a priority for voters, and they want it to be a priority for the incoming municipal councils. Based on the candidate survey responses that TREB received, it appears that housing affordability is also a priority for many candidates.”

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 95 per cent of responding candidates in Toronto, and 86 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that, if elected, they would advocate for updating municipal zoning by-laws and policies to encourage more medium density housing.
  • 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates indicated that they would be willing to consider reforms to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust it for inflation; 84 per cent of responding GTA candidates indicated that they would, if elected, oppose proposals for any new municipal land transfer tax.
  • 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 79 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would support efforts to reduce planning approval times and red tape to facilitate new housing supply.
  • 97 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 96 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would, if elected, advocate for funding from senior levels of government for infrastructure investments.

MISSING MIDDLE

TREB has also released three new policy briefs on “missing middle” housing supply, housing-related municipal red tape, and infrastructure needs for housing supply, in addition to a brief issued earlier in the campaign on the impact of municipal land transfer taxes. TREB’s recommendations call for newly elected municipal councils to support the creation of much needed housing supply and options.

TREB is calling on councils to:

  • Review municipal zoning by-laws and consider changes to allow for more mid-density development such as townhomes.
  • Resist community opposition and work with neighbourhoods  by improving communication strategies to articulate the ability of mid-density developments to be seamlessly integrated into existing neighbourhoods.
  • Prevent any new municipal land transfer taxes in the rest of the GTA.
  • Reform the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust the first-time home buyer rebate, and the threshold price at which the higher tax rate kicks in, for inflation, so both keep pace with the current average home price in Toronto now sitting at around $800,000.
  • Conduct reviews of municipal planning approval processes for new housing applications with a goal of streamlining and shortening the process.
  • Recognize the importance of infrastructure as it relates to housing supply and affordability, and move ahead with critical projects and investments such as regional transit as a key part of strategies targeted to addressing housing needs.

 

RELATED READING

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

Keesmaat’s 100,000 housing plan doomed to fail

 

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