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Biggest factor in the Toronto housing market is demand, says minister

Ontario’s finance minister said last week that while he is considering a tax on foreign home buyers for Toronto and beyond, it’s not the biggest factor when looking at ways to cool the housing market.

As an influx of people move to the province, in particular the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the growing demand for housing - also fuelled in part by low interest rates - is outstripping the current supply, Charles Sousa said.

“I still want to fulfil what I said I would do a year ago: obtain the evidence, obtain the information, get the data necessary to then make an informed decision as to what is happening,” he said after a cabinet meeting.

The Toronto Real Estate Board is urging Sousa not to implement a foreign-buyers’ tax, arguing it would do little to address the problem of rising house prices.

“The fact that most foreign buyers are looking to purchase a home for their family, for personal use, or to provide a tight rental market with much needed supply is something to be encouraged, as these actions are essential to Ontario’s economic success,” the board’s president Larry Cerqua said in a statement.

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