Hot real estate market can't always be cooled by legislation


Politicians hoping to solve the Greater Toronto Area’s housing affordability crisis with legislation should proceed with caution, says Toronto real estate lawyer Peter Neilson.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced plans to introduce a 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area, taking in communities all the way from the Niagara Region to Peterborough.

Buyers who are not citizens, permanent residents of Canadian corporation will have to pay the levy, which mirrors similar measures imposed last year in B.C.

Ontario’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa initially rejected the idea of copying the B.C. tax in Ontario, but has since backtracked, as house prices continued to rise. In Toronto, they hit an average of more than $900,000 in March, which represented a 33-per-cent spike over the same month in 2016.

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