Michelle Gilbert says increasing the non-resident speculation tax from 15 to 20 per cent and applying it beyond the Greater Golden Horseshoe likely won’t have a big effect because past data showed foreign buyers were responsible for less than five per cent of the region’s real estate activity.
The Toronto realtor says the implementation of the tax back in 2017 affected the market, but many foreign buyers have since realized the province is still a “safe haven,” even if they have to pay a fee.
She doesn’t expect a larger tax to deter them and neither does BMO Capital Markets chief economist Douglas Porter, who says non-resident investors are unlikely a huge source of the market’s heat.
Porter says any policy that takes some steam out of demand will be welcomed, but he doesn’t expect the changes to have as a broad an impact as interest rate hikes or a significant infusion of housing supply would.
Ontario’s housing minister is set to introduce legislation later today aimed at boosting the province’s supply of homes.
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