Foreign Buyers to be Taxed in Ontario

Media reports are out this morning that Ontario's Liberal government will impose a hefty tax on home purchases by offshore non-residents, as well as expanding the province's existing rent control system to cover all tenants

The moves come after the price of the average home in the Greater Toronto Area jumped 33% in a year, sparking fears of a real estate bubble, as well as reports of massive rent increases by landlords on tenants.

The measures are to be announced Thursday morning by Premier Kathleen Wynne, in the fast-growing Toronto neighbourhood of Liberty Village, along with Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Housing Minister Chris Ballard.

Those same media reports revealed that Ontario will impose a 15% tax on residential real estate purchases by anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident, if they are not living in the province. Called the "Non-Resident Speculation Tax," it is similar to the tax imposed in Metro Vancouver last year, but with a rebate for homebuyers who become resident within a limited time period after the purchase.

The tax will apply to purchases in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, an expanse of land that includes the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, as well as the surrounding region stretching from Peterborough through Barrie, Waterloo and the Niagara Peninsula to the U.S. border.

The government will reportedly bring all tenants under the province's existing rent control system, ending the exemption that currently allows unlimited rent increases in units built after 1991. The change will mean annual rent increases for all tenants who stay in their rental housing will be limited to Ontario's inflation-based guideline (which this year is set at 1.5%), unless the landlord gets approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board.