Rapid Policy Update: Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan
Today, the Ontario government released a set of 16 comprehensive measures aimed at helping Ontarians find affordable homes and bring stability to the real estate market. The OCC applauds the government for taking action to ensure affordability, however we believe that measures should target increasing supply and protecting landlords while encouraging new opportunities for growth.
Background on Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan
Ontario’s housing market has seen dynamic growth in recent years, with prices in the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Golden Horseshoe rising significantly. After two consecutive years of double-digit gains, average house prices in the Toronto region reached $916,567 in March 2017, up 33.2 percent from the previous year. Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan will introduce 16 measures targeted at addressing both the supply and demand side of the housing market.
What follows is a brief overview of some of the more substantial policy measures introduced as part of the plan.
Key Details of the Fair Housing Plan
Actions to Address Demand for Housing
- Implement a new 15 percent Non-Resident Speculation tax (NRST) on the price of homes purchased by non citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporation
Actions to Protect Renters
- Expand rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991
Actions to Increase Supply
- Introducing a targeted $125 million, five-year program to encourage the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges
- Providing flexibility to municipalities to use property tax tools to enhance development opportunities
- Creation of a new Housing Supply Team of dedicated provincial employees with a mandate to identify barriers to housing development projects
- Working with municipalities to better reflect the needs of a growing Greater Golden Horseshoe through an updated Growth Plan
- Establish a Housing Advisory Group that will meet quarterly to provide ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of measures announced in the Fair Housing Plan
The Ontario government has signaled their intention to review the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). It is the view of the OCC that the RTA must protect landlords and property managers. We look forward to working with the government to modernize the RTA to help strengthen the sector and make Ontario a leader in real estate transactions and standards.
We are encouraged that the government has committed to working with municipalities to remove the barriers to getting more new homes and listings on the market faster. While we acknowledge that the government is taking action to ensure affordability, we believe that measures should target increasing supply and protecting landlords while encouraging new opportunities for growth. We encourage the province to keep a close eye on what impact these new policy measures will have on housing supply going forward.
Input from the Ontario Real Estate Association
“Our goal as Realtors is to keep the dream of home ownership within reach for millennials, first-time home buyers and young families. We had over a dozen meetings with Premier Wynne, Finance Minister Sousa, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Housing Minister Chris Ballard and other senior staff to bring our ideas on home affordability forward. We’re pleased to see that the government has listened. For one, increasing the supply of homes is the best way to give buyers a better shot at home ownership and the government has committed to working with municipalities to remove the barriers to getting more new homes and listings on the market faster.
Secondly, since I became CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, I’ve worked with my board and Ontario Realtors to call for an overhaul of REBBA, the legislation that sets the rules for Realtors, to raise the bar on professional standards. Since the Act was first implemented in 2002, the real estate world has changed tremendously, therefore the legislation must be updated to catch up with the times. We look forward to working with the government to modernize the rules governing the profession, to help strengthen the sector and make Ontario a leader in real estate transactions and standards.
Education standards for Realtors must also be improved to ensure that Ontarians are working with highly skilled professionals when buying and selling their home, the biggest financial move most people will make in their lives.”
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Senior Manager, Public & Media Relations