Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Shivering Premier in a Hot Housing Market

I am watching Premier Kathleen Wynne and Charles Sousa introduce their Fair Housing Plan and I must say I am both impressed and skeptical.

Wynne has mentioned a few times already how she is shivering, while approaching the microphone to answer questions in both English and kindergarten French.

Premier Wynne Praying this plan doesn't further fuck things up! Please elect me again!

It is no surprise that we have the government finally moving in to commit some action as an election is just around the corner. While this is a sad reality, it is cause for celebration, as the measures proposed actually seem sensible and effective.

As mentioned in my previous entries, the measures put forward will impose taxes on both non-residents and domestic speculation. I like how Minister Sousa called the speculation as it is, which is simply paper scalping of residential properties that haven't even been finished.

On the surface, these measures seem like something out of an NDP government, which isn't surprising as the Liberals have stolen many ideas from them.

There are some concerns however, regarding the information currently available for the government to work with. It seems rather odd that it has taken so long for the one entity in our country that should have the most up to date information available to them.

When questioned about the percentage of international speculators on the housing market, the minister couldn't speak without a stutter, which shows you he has no idea, granted the requirement of full disclosure is now being put into effect for all new purchases, this is something that should have happened years ago.

The very fact that Ontario and Vancouver have been put into this situation is signs of a direct lack of government due diligence in my opinion, if trends are emerging that show a need for action, our government should at the very least begin collecting information to make a decision. In the case of our current housing market, we haven't had any action for over a year and a half and until enough people have been priced out of their own cities and an increase of gentrification has caused public outcry.

To break down the important announcements today, I will list the changes coming both immediately and in the near future.

1. 15% non-resident tax on the purchase of a residential property. Subject to a rebate if individual is a full time enrolled student for 2 years and beyond or working within the province for more than a year after the purchase. 

2. Speculation targets that hope to curb paper flipping, which is when people purchase more than one property in a development only to leave them empty or flip them before the property is finished. 

3. Vacant home tax, if someone buys a home to leave it vacant as a potential money grab, they will end up paying a tax in order to balance the playing field a bit. 

4. More money and changes to regulations that prohibit cities from building more affordable housing. This is good, but also dangerous, as some cities are looking to transfer green belt land over to developers, which I would not agree with.

5. A freeze on property tax for apartment owners, which should result in less rent for occupants, but could also backfire if the benefits do not trickle down. Also, rent controls on newer buildings to ensure we no longer see rents doubling at the end of a lease period. 

While no capital gains tax increase was mentioned, I am pleased to see that some action is being taken to assist those in need of securing housing at a reasonable rate.

Our government is here to guide us and the current Wynne administration has been guilty of making many costly mistakes in just doing that. With this plan, there is great hope that some relief will come to the market and as such cool it down a bit. Hopefully, a correction results from this and any potential bubble created will not burst.

With an election on the horizon, the people of Ontario need to continue assessing just how effective the current government has been in their position of power. While these measures do bring hope, we all need to shake our heads as they came very very late into the initial crisis.

Strong leadership would have supported the notion of having a roof over ones head long ago and not just when the days count down toward an election.

Until Next Time!

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