Ontario Real Estate Reforms To Target 'Property Scalpers,' Sousa Hints

Premier Kathleen Wynne hosted a funding announcement at Algonquin College on Tuesday. Chris Donovan  Ottawa Citizen

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ontario's Minister of Finance Charles Sousa and Mayor John Tory sat down for a much-anticipated meeting to discuss the housing crisis in Toronto this afternoon.

He also said at the time that "there wasn't any evidence that there was a huge problem... with respect to foreign buyers somehow artificially inflating the housing market in Toronto".

The lack of data is of particular concern, Tory said, because it's clear that there's some speculation going on in the market but lawmakers are "flying blind" when it comes to knowing the real picture. Royal LePage's latest House Price Survey released Wednesday shows home values for the region declined on a quarterly basis for the first time since 2013.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has said he's concerned about speculators "playing the market" and therefore limiting supply.

"We think it will have an impact on reducing speculative behaviour because we're saying that we're serious", he said.

Mr. Morneau said the federal government will share its relevant data on housing markets with other levels of government.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday home sales over its Multiple Listings Service system increased by 1.1 per cent in March to top the previous monthly record set in April 2016. But he vowed that all three levels of government will continue to coordinate their actions to try and come up with solutions that will restore some hope for residents who are desperately trying to stay in the city amid skyrocketing home prices and rent increases.

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"We don't allow a person to buy five or 10, " he said.

Officials from Canada and its most populous province will meet on Tuesday to try to cool Toronto's hot housing market, under pressure from voters angry that speculators or foreigners are fueling a bubble in Canada's largest city.

"There's fairly widespread agreement that there's an element of speculation that's found its way in to this marketplace", said Tory, though he added that expert opinions differ on what is causing it and what should be done to address it.

Compared with a year ago, sales were up 6.6 per cent as gains in the Greater Toronto Area led the way.

The pace of year-over-year home price appreciation in Greater Vancouver has slowed down dramatically from the historic highs witnessed in 2016.

While ongoing collaboration with the federal government and City of Toronto is key to improving housing affordability for renters and those looking to purchase a home over the long term, our government is also aware that a response is needed now to address recent dramatic increases in rents and home prices.

Sousa said he will soon introduce measures aimed at cooling the GTA's housing market.

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