Friday, April 21, 2017

Foreign Tax Definition and Rules that apply after April 21st,2017

Non-Resident Speculation Tax

The implementation of the Non-Resident Speculation Tax is subject to the approval of the Legislature.

Overview

The non-resident speculation tax (NRST) is a 15 per cent tax on the purchase or acquisition of an interest in residential property located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations (“foreign entities”) and taxable trustees.
The NRST applies in addition to the general land transfer tax in Ontario.
The GGH includes the following geographic areas: Brant, Dufferin, Durham, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, Northumberland, Peel, Peterborough, Simcoe, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and York.  Refer to the map at the end of the document.

Effective Date

Upon the enactment of legislation, the NRST will be effective as of April 21, 2017.  
Binding agreements of purchase and sale signed on or before April 20, 2017 are not subject to the NRST.

Entities Subject to the NRST

The NRST applies to foreign entities or taxable trustees who purchase or acquire residential property in the GGH.
foreign entity is either a foreign national or a foreign corporation.
foreign national, as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), is an individual who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
foreign corporation is a corporation that is one of the following:
  • Is not incorporated in Canada;
  • Is incorporated in Canada but is controlled in whole or in part by a foreign national or other foreign corporation, unless the shares of the corporation are listed on a Canadian stock exchange; or
  • Is controlled directly or indirectly by a foreign entity for the purposes of section 256 of the Income Tax Act (Canada).
For the purposes of the NRST, a taxable trustee is a trustee that is one of the following:
  • A foreign entity holding title in trust for beneficiaries, or
  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a corporation holding title in trust for foreign entity beneficiaries.

Types of Property Subject to the NRST

The NRST applies to the transfer of land which contains at least one and not more than six single family residences.  Examples of land containing one single family residence include detached and semi-detached houses, townhouses and condominium units.  In a situation involving the purchase of multiple condominium units, each unit would be considered land containing one single family residence.  Examples of land containing more than one single family residence that are subject to the tax include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes and sixplexes. 
The NRST does not apply to other types of land such as multi-residential rental apartment buildings with more than six units, agricultural land, commercial land or industrial land.
The NRST applies on the value of the consideration for the residential property. If the land transferred includes both residential property and another type of property, the NRST applies on the portion of the value of the consideration attributable to the residential property. For example, if the purchase price of the transaction is $1,000,000 and contains one single family residence with a value of the consideration of $400,000, and commercial land with a value of the consideration of $600,000, the 15 per cent NRST would only apply to the $400,000 portion.

General Application

The 15 per cent NRST applies to the value of the consideration for a transfer of residential property if any one of the transferees is a foreign entity or taxable trustee.
For example, if a transfer of residential property is made to four transferees, one of whom is a foreign entity that acquires a 25 per cent share in the land, the NRST would apply to 100 per cent of the value of the consideration for the transfer.
Each transferee is jointly and severally liable for any NRST payable. If a foreign entity or taxable trustee does not pay the NRST, the other transferees will be required to pay the tax. This applies even if the other transferees are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
The NRST does not apply when a person purchases or acquires residential property as a trustee of a mutual fund trust, real estate investment trust or specified investment flow-through trust.
The NRST applies to unregistered dispositions of a beneficial interest in residential property. This includes purchases and acquisitions of residential property where section 3 of the Land Transfer Tax Act is applicable.

Exemptions

An exemption to the NRST is available to a foreign national who receives confirmation under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (“nominee”). To qualify for this exemption, the foreign national must be confirmed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program at the time of the purchase or acquisition and the property must be used as the foreign national’s principal residence.
An exemption is also available to a foreign national who is conferred the status of “convention refugee” or “person in need of protection” (“refugee”) under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at the time of the purchase or acquisition.
A foreign national who has a spouse (as defined in the Land Transfer Tax Act), who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, “nominee” or “refugee” is exempt from the NRST if the foreign national jointly purchases residential property with that spouse.   
However, the exemption does not apply if the Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, “nominee”, or “refugee” and his or her foreign national spouse purchased the property with another foreign national.  For example, if three parties purchase a property as follows:
  • one Canadian citizen and his or her foreign national spouse; and
  • a third party who is a foreign national,
 the exemption would not apply and NRST would be payable. 

Rebates

A rebate of the NRST may be available in the following situations:
  • The foreign national becomes a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada within four years of the date of the purchase or acquisition;
  • The foreign national is a student who has been enrolled full-time for at least two years from the date of purchase or acquisition in an “approved institution”, as outlined in Ontario Regulation 70/17 of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities Act; or
  • The foreign national has legally worked full-time in Ontario for a continuous period of one year since the date of purchase or acquisition.
In order to be eligible for the rebates, the foreign national must exclusively hold the property, or hold the property exclusively with his or her spouse.  The property must also have been used as  the foreign national’s (and if applicable their spouse’s) principal residence for the duration of the period.
The rebate will be paid with interest, calculated at the prescribed refund rate under the Land Transfer Tax Act. 
Supporting documentation will be required to substantiate all applications for rebates.

Tax Avoidance and Offences

All transfers of land in Ontario are subject to audit.
Anti-avoidance provisions will be enforced to ensure the NRST is reported and paid as required. This includes examining circumstances where Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, as taxable trustees, hold property in trust for a foreign entity or are trustees where a beneficiary may be a foreign entity.  This also includes preventing the use of multiple conveyances to avoid the NRST.
Failure to pay the NRST as required may result in a penalty, fine and/or imprisonment.

Payment of the NRST

NOTE:  All transfers registered on or after April 21, 2017 must contain a statement expressly acknowledging that consideration has been given to the application of the NRST.  Registrants are required to provide one of the following two statements:
The Non-Resident Speculation Tax does not apply to this transfer
The Non-Resident Speculation Tax applies to this transfer and has been paid to the Ministry of Finance, as confirmed by Receipt # *******
For paper registrations, the applicable statement is to be inserted in paragraph 5 of the Land Transfer Tax Affidavit.  For registrations processed through Teraview, the applicable statement is to be inserted in Land Transfer Tax statement 9151 (Other remarks and explanations), which is found under the Explanations Tab.
Taxpayers reporting unregistered dispositions of land to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) must also expressly acknowledge in a covering letter that consideration has been given to the application of the NRST and whether or not it is payable on the reported transaction.

Electronic registrations

For an interim period, Ontario’s electronic registration system (operated by Teranet) will not be able to collect the NRST. During this interim period, to ensure compliance with the legislation, affected purchasers/transferees should pre-pay both the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST directly to the MoF’s office in Oshawa.  Once the MoF accepts the pre-payment of the taxes, the transfer may be registered electronically without further payment of Land Transfer Tax or NRST.
The Ministry will provide a letter confirming receipt of NRST with a receipt number.

Registrations made at Land Registry Offices

NRST payable on registrations that must be made at a Land Registry Office must be pre-paid directly to the MoF.  If the transfer is subject to NRST, both the Land Transfer Tax and NRST should be pre-paid directly to the MoF.
The transfer will be stamped with a direction to the Land Registrar that no further Land Transfer Tax is payable at registration and the MoF will also provide a letter confirming receipt of NRST.

Dispositions / Unregistered transfers

If a transfer will not be registered on title, a Return on the Acquisition of a Beneficial Interest in Land form, along with the payment of the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST must be submitted to the MoF within 30 days of the transfer of land.  For more information, see Land Transfer Tax and the Treatment of Unregistered Dispositions of a Beneficial Interest in Land

How to pre-pay the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST to the MoF

The following documentation must be submitted to the MoF:
For transfers to be registered and unregistered transfers / dispositions:
  1. Cheque for the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST (certified, if not drawn on the solicitor's trust account), made payable to the “Minister of Finance”
  2. Copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, with all schedules attached
  3. Copy of the draft Statement of Adjustments (if applicable)
  4. If the value of the consideration is based on the fair market value of the land, any appraisals or documentation that is evidence of the fair market value of the land
  5. Any additional documents as may be required to determine the value of the consideration
In addition, for transfers to be registered:
  1. Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative form(s), completed by each transferee
  2. Copy of the Document “in preparation” or three copies of the Transfer/Deed if registration is done on paper
  3. If registration is done on paper, two completed Land Transfer Tax Affidavits.


 
 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan Announced Today!

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan


Ontario's Fair Housing Plan introduces a comprehensive package of measures to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. The plan includes:

Actions to Address Demand for Housing:
  1. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, implement a new 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) purchased by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations. Ontario's economy benefits enormously from newcomers who decide to make the province home. The NRST would help to address unsustainable demand in this region and make housing more available and affordable, while ensuring Ontario continues to be a place that welcomes all new residents. The proposed tax would apply to transfers of land that contain at least one and not more than six single family residences. "Single family residences" include, for example, detached and semi-detached homes, townhomes and condominiums. The NRST would not apply to transfers of other types of land including multi-residential rental apartment buildings, agricultural land or commercial/industrial land. The NRST would be effective as of April 21, 2017, upon the enactment of the amending legislation.
    Refugees and nominees under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program would not be subject to the NRST. Subject to eligibility requirements, a rebate would be available for those who subsequently attain citizenship or permanent resident status as a well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and international students. See technical bulletin for further information.
Actions to Protect Renters
  1. Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991. This will ensure increases in rental costs can only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. Over the past ten years, the annual rent increase guideline has averaged two per cent. The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent. Under these changes, landlords would still be able to apply vacancy decontrol and seek above guideline increases where permitted. Legislation will be introduced that, if passed, will enact this change effective April 20.‎
  2. The government will introduce legislation that would, if passed, strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act to further protect tenants and ensure predictability for landlords. This will include developing a standard lease with explanatory information available in multiple languages, tightening provisions for "landlord's own use" evictions, and ensuring that tenants are adequately compensated if asked to vacate under this rule; prohibiting above-guideline increases where elevator work orders have not been completed; and making technical changes at the Landlord-Tenant Board to make the process fairer and easier for renters and landlords. These changes would apply to the entire province.
Actions to Increase Housing Supply
  1. Establishing a program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market housing and new, permanent, sustainable and affordable housing supply. Potential sites under consideration for a pilot project include the West Don Lands, 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets in Toronto, and other sites in the province. This builds on an agreement reached previously with the City of Toronto to ensure a minimum of 20 per cent of residential units within the West Don Lands are available for affordable rental, with an additional 5 per cent of units for affordable ownership.
  2. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, empower the City of Toronto, and potentially other interested municipalities, to introduce a vacant homes property tax to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, to address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant by speculators.
  3. Ensuring that property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties. This will encourage developers to build more new purpose-built rental housing and will apply to the entire province.
  4. Introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to further encourage the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. Working with municipalities, the government would target projects in those communities that are most in need of new purpose-built rental housing.
  5. Providing municipalities with the flexibility to use property tax tools to help unlock development opportunities. For example, municipalities could be permitted to impose a higher tax on vacant land that has been approved for new housing.
  6. Creating a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions. As well, a multi-ministry working group will be established to work with the development industry and municipalities to identify opportunities to streamline the development approvals process.
Other Actions to Protect Homebuyers and Increase Information Sharing
  1. The province will work to understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market such as "paper flipping," a practice that includes entering into a contractual agreement to buy a residential unit and assigning it to another person prior to closing.
  2. Working with the real estate profession and consumers, the province is committing to review the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions. This includes practices such as double ending. The government will modernize its rules, strengthen professionalism and improve the home-buying experience with a goal to make Ontario a leader in real estate standards.
  3. Establishing a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures in the Fair Housing Plan and any additional steps that are needed. The group will have a diverse range of expertise, including economists, academics, developers, community groups and the real estate sector.
  4. Educating consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.
  5. Partnering with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
  6. Making elevators in Ontario buildings more reliable by establishing timelines for elevator repair in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA).
  7. Working with municipalities to better reflect the needs of a growing Greater Golden Horseshoe through an updated Growth Plan. New provisions will include requiring that municipalities  consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes. This will help support the goals of creating complete communities that are vibrant, transit-supportive and economically competitive, while doing more to address climate change, protect the region's natural heritage and prevent the loss of irreplaceable farmland. As part of the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, enough land was set aside in municipal official plans to accommodate forecasted growth to at least 2031. Based on discussions with municipalities across the region, the government is confident that there is enough serviced land to meet the Provincial Policy Statement requirement for a three year supply of residential units. The Greenbelt provides important protection of natural heritage and farmland, and neither the area of the Greenbelt or the rules about what can occur inside of it will be weakened. The upcoming Growth Plan will promote intensification around existing and planned transit stations and will promote higher densities in the suburbs to support transit.

Actions to Date
The government has taken a number of actions over recent months and years in order to support homebuyers, increase supply of affordable and rental housing and promote fairness. These include:
  • Helping more people purchase their first home by doubling the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund for eligible first-time homebuyers to $4,000. This means eligible homebuyers in Ontario pay no Land Transfer Tax on the first $368,000 of the cost of their first home.
  • Modernizing the Land Transfer Tax to reflect the current real estate market, including increasing rates on one or two single-family residence over $2 million. Revenue generated from the increased rates is being used to fund the enhancements to the First-Time Homebuyers Refund.
  • Making it easier for not-for-profit affordable housing providers to buy surplus government lands.
  • Introducing an inclusionary zoning framework for municipalities that will enable affordable housing units as part of residential developments.
  • Amending the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act to support second units, allowing homeowners to create rental units in their primary residence and creating additional supply.
  • Freezing the municipal property tax burden for  multi-residential apartment buildings in communities where these taxes are high.
  • Collecting information about Ontario's real estate market to support evidence-based policy development
Appendix: Data and Trends on the Real Estate Market
Ontario's housing market has seen very dynamic growth in recent years, with prices in the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Golden Horseshoe rising significantly. This has been supported by economic fundamentals, including a growing population, rising employment, higher incomes and very low borrowing costs.
House prices have been rising at a robust pace in the Greater Toronto Area since the end of the 2008-09 recession.
After two consecutive years of double-digit gains, average house prices in the Toronto region reached $916,567 in March 2017, up 33.2 per cent from a year earlier.
See image "Toronto Home Resale Prices"
The Greater Toronto Area showed the sharpest rise in home prices in Ontario over the past two years.
While the growth rate of prices of homes in the Greater Vancouver Area have been slowing since August 2016 after the introduction of B.C.'s foreign-buyers tax, home prices have been climbing steadily in the Greater Toronto Area.
See image "MLS Home Price Index", "Greater Toronto Area Price Increases Outstrip Other Cities" and "Housing supply in Ontario seems to be aligning with demographics".
According to Urbanation, the average rent per square foot for new leases in the Greater Toronto Area condo market rose 11 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 compared to a year earlier, the fastest pace of growth since at least 2011.
The number of owners with more than one residential property has been rising steadily since 2000.

See image "Number of Owners With More Than One Residential Property in the GTHA: 2000-16".

Thursday, April 6, 2017

SOLD 81K OVER ASKING IN 7 DAYS!


123 BIRCHCLIFF AVE, SCARBOROUGH

April 2017 Toronto Real Estate Report


The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 12,077 residential sales through TREB's MLS® System in March 2017. This result represented a 17.7 per cent increase compared to the 10,260 sales reported in March 2016. For the TREB market area as a whole, annual sales growth was strongest for condominium apartments and detached houses.
The number of new listings also increased on a year-over-year basis, at 17,051 – a 15.2 per cent increase compared to March 2016. The strongest growth in new listings was experienced in the detached market segment. While new listings were up strongly compared to last year, the rate new listings growth was still lower than the rate of sales growth. As a result, GTA market conditions continued to tighten.
It has been encouraging to see that policymakers have not implemented any knee-jerk policies regarding the GTA housing market. Different levels of government are holding consultations with market stakeholders and TREB has participated and will continue to participate in these discussions. Policy makers must remember that it is the interplay between the demand for and supply of listings that influences price growth.
Strong competition between buyers continued to cause high levels of price growth in all major market segments. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark Price was up by 28.6 per cent year-over-year. For the TREB market area as a whole, the average selling price was up by 33.2 per cent, with similar annual rates of growth in the low-rise and condominium apartment segments.
Annual rates of price growth continued to accelerate in March as growth in sales outstripped growth in listings. A substantial period of months in which listings growth is greater than sales growth will be required to bring the GTA housing market back into balance. 



Monday, March 20, 2017

Just Listed this Great Liberty Village Condo For Sale


51 East Liberty St unit 601, Toronto. 

Offered at $395,000

Fabulous Condo In Vibrant Liberty Village Downtown Location. Just Steps To All Amenities & Ttc. Great Unit With 570Sq Ft Of Living Space + 84 Sq Ft Balcony With Good View. Features Include 9Ft Ceilings, Upgraded European Style Kitchen With Mosaic Backsplash,Granite Counters & Stainless Steel Appliances, Laminate Floors Throughout, 2 Baths With Upgraded Granite Counters & Tiles,Stand Up Glass Shower, Good Size Balcony With Nice Southwest Exposure.
Designer Hood Range In Kitchen & Mirrored Closet Doors In Unit.Great Building! Excellent Facilities Incl. Gym,Steam Room,Yoga Studio,Party/Game Room,Guest Suites,Concierge Desk, Outdoor Lounge.Rented Parking Spot Prepaid Until End Of Year. - See more at www.iListTorontoHomes.com. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 2017 Toronto Real Estate Report

The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS reported 8,014 residential sales through TREB’s MLS System in February 2017. This result was up on a year-over-year basis by 5.7 per cent compared to 7,583 sales reported last year. The February statistics tell me that many Greater Toronto Area households continue to view home ownership as a great long-term investment.

The high demand for ownership housing we’re seeing is broad-based, with strong sales growth for most low-rise home types and condominium apartments. This makes sense given the results of a recent consumer survey undertaken for TREB by Ipsos, which found an even split between intending first-time buyers and existing homeowners who indicated that they were planning on purchasing a home in 2017. According to the recent Ipsos survey of intending GTA home buyers, first-time buyers will continue to account for much of the demand for ownership housing in Toronto and the surrounding regions. For the GTA as a whole, 53 per cent of likely buyers indicated that they would be first-timers – up from 49 per cent a year earlier. First-time buying intentions were highest in the City of Toronto, where 64 per cent of likely home purchasers indicated they would be first-timers – up from 56 per cent a year earlier. The higher percentage of first-time buyers in the City of Toronto likely relates to the prevalence of condominium apartments, which are a popular entry point into home ownership.

There has also been much speculation, both in the media and among government policymakers, about the amount of foreign buying activity in the GTA. A recent Ipsos survey of the TREB membership on foreign buying activity suggests that the impact of foreign buyers in the GTA marketplace has been somewhat overblown. GTA-wide, the number of transactions accounted for by foreign buyers was less than five per cent. Furthermore, the great majority – 80 per cent, to be exact – of foreign buyers were purchasing a home as a primary residence, a home for another family member to live in, or as an investment to rent out to a tenant, which is helpful in a tight rental market.

To date, the provincial government and municipal governments have resisted the implementation of a foreign buyer tax in the absence of empirical evidence. The Ipsos survey of TREB Members should further solidify the argument that the solution to strong rates of price growth and related affordability concerns lies not with taxing foreign buyers more, but rather with addressing the supply of homes available for sale, or lack thereof.

While the demand for ownership housing grew over the past year, new listings entered into TREB's MLS System in February were down on a year-over-year basis by 12.5 per cent to 9,834. This continues a pattern we saw throughout much of 2016, with the sales trend pointing up while the listings trend has been down, which has resulted in a contraction of the inventory of homes available for sale.

The listing supply crunch we are experiencing in the GTA has undoubtedly led to the double-digit home price increases we are now experiencing on a sustained basis, both in the low-rise and high-rise market segments. Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price growth to continue.

The average selling price was up by 27.7 per cent year-over-year to $875,983. Annual rates of price growth continued to be strongest for low-rise home types, particularly detached houses. Growth rates for condominium apartment prices were also in the double digits, likely a result of strong demand from firsttime buyers.

Over the past year, we have reached a point where government policies that target only the demand side of the market, whether we're talking about foreign buyers or further changes to mortgage lending guidelines, will not be enough to balance market conditions and moderate the pace of price growth, policymakers at all three levels of government must turn their attention to the supply of homes available for sale. They should consider revisiting land-use designations in built-up areas to allow for a greater diversity of home types, streamlining development approvals and permitting processes, and looking at ways to incentivize landowners to develop their land.

For more questions on the Toronto Real Estate Market or if you are looking to buy or sell a property or have a friend who may be looking to buy or sell a property feel free to contact me at 416-856-5408 or by email at aprasoulis@gmail.com


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pressure on GTA renters intensifies


Those hoping to become first-time buyers in the Greater Toronto Area are under increasing pressure as soaring rents make saving for a downpayment tougher.

Urbanation says that the average condo rents in the last three months of 2016 rose 11.7 per cent compared to a year earlier with renters paying almost $2,000. The pace of rent increases was a sharp contrast to the 4.2 per cent annual rise recorded a year earlier.

“The undersupply of rentals in the GTA continued to worsen throughout the year, causing rents to surge alongside home prices and further deteriorating housing affordability across the region” said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s Senior Vice President.

Supply of rental condos in the GTA has declined as owners have chosen to sell properties due to higher prices. It means that total rental listings fell 8 per cent with lease volumes down 4 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

For the whole of 2016 there were 26,602 condo units rented through the MLS, down 2 per cent from a year earlier.

Applications for new purpose-built rental units increased by more than 7,500 in the fourth quarter but Hildebrand is concerned about the future.

“While less pressure on rent growth may arrive in 2017 due to a temporary rise in new apartment completions, it’s become clear that more attention needs to be paid to building rentals over the longer-term,” he added.
  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Another Record Breaking Year for the Toronto Real Estate Market

The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that 2016 was a second consecutive record year for home sales. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 113,133 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System – up by 11.8 per cent compared to 2015. The calendar year 2016 result included 5,338 sales in December – an annual increase of 8.6 per cent. The strongest annual rate of sales growth in 2016 was experienced for condominium apartments followed by detached homes. A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region’s population continued to grow in 2016. It is important to point out that the strong demand that we experienced in 2016 was very much domestic in nature. TREB recently commissioned Ipsos to survey its Members with regard to the level and type of foreign buying activity within the Greater Toronto Area. The results of the Ipsos survey suggest that the level of foreign buying activity is low in the GTA. Only an estimated 4.9 per cent of GTA transactions, in which TREB Members acted on behalf of a buyer, involved a foreign purchaser. In the City of Toronto, the share of foreign buyers was five per cent. The methodology of the Ipsos research involved an online survey of the TREB Membership hosted on the Ipsos platform. A total of 3,518 surveys were completed between October 6 and October 21, 2016. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points 19 times out of 20. TREB will be releasing the full results of the Ipsos survey dealing with foreign buyers on January 31, 2017, in conjunction with its Market Year in Review and Outlook Report and related media event. The annual rate of growth for the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) in the TREB market area accelerated throughout 2016 – from 10.7 per cent in January 2016 to 21 per cent in December 2016. The overall average selling price for calendar year 2016 was $729,922 – up 17.3 per cent compared to 2015. The pace of the annual rate of growth for the average selling price also picked up throughout the year, including a climb of 20 per cent in December. Price growth accelerated throughout 2016 as the supply of listings remained very constrained. Active listings at the end of December were at their lowest point in a decade- and-a-half. Total new listings for 2016 were down by almost four per cent. In 2016, we saw policy changes and policy debates pointed at the demand side of the market. If we want to see a sustained moderation in the pace of price growth, what we really need is more policy focus on issues impacting the lack of homes available for sale, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis. TREB’s Market Year in Review and Outlook Report and media event will include an expert panel and related submissions on the foundations of the housing supply issue in the GTA and possible solutions. With continued strong rates of price growth, housing affordability is a growing concern. Unfortunately, the City of Toronto’s Budget Committee is considering an increase to the Land Transfer Tax that could see buyers of average-priced homes pay another $750 to the City, which would represent a seven per cent increase to the $11,000 that they already pay City Hall as an upfront Land Transfer Tax closing cost. This would be on top of the $12,000 that is also paid to the province. First-time buyers could end up paying $475 more, or, at best, be no better off, even though the province recently doubled their first time buyer LTT rebate. The last thing people need is to dish out another $750, on top of the $11,000 that they already pay City Hall. The City should be looking for ways to make housing affordability better, not worse, especially for first-time buyers who could go backwards, or at best, be no better off, The Budget Committee should stop this proposal in its tracks and instead enhance the rebate for first-time buyers.

For more information on the Toronto Real Estate Market feel welcome to call me at 416-856-5408 or email me at aprasoulis@gmail.com

To receive these reports monthly feel welcome to subscribe to our monthly real estate newsletter by clicking on the link below. 
- See more at: http://www.ilisttorontohomes.com/Another-Record-Breaking-Year-for-the-Toronto-Real-Estate-Market#sthash.4xiko4aq.dpuf

Sunday, December 18, 2016

GTA REALTORS® RELEASE MONTHLY RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES

The Toronto Real Estate Board President announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,547 home sales through TREB's MLS® System in November 2016. This result represented a 16.5 per cent increase compared to November 2015.
For the TREB market area as a whole, sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types. The strongest annual rates of sales growth were experienced for the townhouse and condominium apartment segments.
"Home buying activity remained strong across all market segments in November.  However, many would-be home buyers continued to be frustrated by the lack of listings, as annual sales growth once again outstripped growth in new listings. Seller's market conditions translated into robust rates of price growth," said Mr. Cerqua.
The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 20.3 per cent compared to November 2015. The average selling price at $776,684 was up by 22.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
"Recent policy initiatives seeking to address strong home price growth have focused on demand.  Going forward, more emphasis needs to be placed on solutions to alleviate the lack of inventory for all home types, especially in the low-rise market segments,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
In January 2017, TREB will be releasing its second annual Market Year in Review & Outlook Report.  This report will contain a more in-depth discussion on the current state and future direction of the housing market in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Detailed findings from Member and consumer surveys conducted by Ipsos will be released, including consumer intentions, buyer profiles and foreign buying activity.  The results of a TREB-commissioned study on transportation infrastructure on housing affordability will also be presented.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

OCTOBER 2016 TORONTO MID MONTH SALES REPORT

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,460 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System during the first 14 days of October 2016. This result represented a 15.5 per cent increase compared to the first two weeks of October 2015. Similar to September, the strongest annual rate of sales growth for the TREB market area as a whole was recorded for the condominium apartment segment. While the market is tight for condo apartments, there is comparatively more inventory available, which has allowed for stronger growth in sales compared to the low-rise market segments. The number of new listings was also up on a year-over-year basis during the first two weeks of October, but by a much lesser annual rate compared to sales. This means that, on the whole, the market continued to tighten with more competition between buyers. Intense competition between buyers in many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA continued to underpin double-digit annual gains in average selling prices. Due to the persistent lack of inventory, low-rise market segments experienced the strongest rates of price growth. However, it is important to point out that the condominium apartment market, particularly in the City of Toronto, also experienced year-overyear price growth in excess of 10 per cent. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Great Article from the Globe and Mail about recent goverment and mortgage changes introduced and my take on it

The federal government is throwing some cold water on Canada’s overheated housing market, hoping to keep Canadians out of unaffordable debt and slow down foreign investment in Toronto and Vancouver’s real-estate markets. Here’s a guide on what has happened so far, what it means and what’s next

What’s changing?

On Monday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a major shakeup of Canada’s mortgage and foreign-ownership rules for real estate to take effect this fall. There are four big changes involved

1. Expanding stress tests to all insured mortgages, not just high-ratio mortgages in which the buyer has put down less than 20 per cent of the purchase price. This may make it harder for some buyers to get insured mortgages, even if they make a larger down payment, because it ends a two-tier system where some mortgages were weighed differently against the buyer’s income to see whether the mortgage is affordable.

2. Closing a tax loophole that some foreign buyers have used to claim exemptions in capital-gains tax for selling properties that they falsely claim as their primary residences. Now, home buyers must file taxes in Canada, as a resident, the same year they buy a home, before they can later claim the principal residence exemption on any gains for that year.

3.Launching consultations to see if banks can take on added lending risks, which would lighten Ottawa’s obligations to pay for insured mortgages in the event of a housing crash – but could also lead to higher mortgage rates. (Here’s David Berman’s analysis, for subscribers, on how bankers feel about this.)

4.Changing the restrictions on portfolio insurance, a type of bulk insurance for mortgages with down payments of 20 per cent or more.


Why are they doing this?

To crack down on foreign real-estate speculation: Investigations by The Globe and Mail over the past year have also shed light on how local and foreign buyers have been flipping Vancouver-area homes for profit, buying and selling properties in the names of relatives or corporations and collecting tax windfalls in the process. In B.C., fears of wealthy foreign buyers inflating Vancouver’s sky-high housing prices have led to tougher restrictions on how the market is regulated and taxed provincially (more on this below); now Ottawa is hoping to close the federal tax loopholes too, a move met with cautious optimism on Monday by the B.C. government.

To keep Canadians out of debt: Mr. Morneau hopes that applying the same stress test to all high-ratio mortgages will make prospective home buyers think twice about taking on more debt than they can pay for. “We want to ensure that we have measures in place to help them to take on risks that they can afford, especially in the situation where mortgage rates go up or their family income goes down,” Mr. Morneau said in an interview with The Globe.

To keep Ottawa off the hook: The federal government currently assumes the full cost of insured mortgages in the event of defaults. Mr. Morneau’s changes would mean Ottawa would pay less, and banks might pay more – costs that the banks might pass on to homeowners by raising rates. The changes to low-ratio mortgage insurance would put the government in less risk in markets with lots of residential mortgages worth $1-million or more, such as Vancouver and Toronto.

What have provinces been doing?

B.C. Premier Christy Clark speaks in Vancouver on June 29, 2016.
The federal government is part of a task force along with the B.C. and Ontario governments that is looking at housing prices in the Toronto and Vancouver areas. Here’s what those provinces have been up to in their own jurisdictions:
British Columbia: This summer, Premier Christy Clark’s government began more rigorous tracking of home buyers’ nationalities and instituted a 15-per-cent tax on home purchases in Metro Vancouver that involve foreigners. The number of foreign-involved transactions plummeted once the tax took effect on Aug. 2; more Vancouver housing numbers released on Tuesday showed a further drop in property sales in September.

Ontario: Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province needs more information about the factors behind Toronto’s red-hot real estate market before adopting a foreign-buyer tax like B.C.’s.

What else has Ottawa already done?

The federal government’s most recent measures come after years of fine-tuning Canada’s housing laws in the aftermath of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Here’s what Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government and the Harper Conservatives before it have already done so far:
Feb. 15, 2016: The minimum down payment for new government-backed insured mortgages increases from 5 per cent to 10 per cent for the portion of a house price over $500,000.

July 9, 2012: The maximum amortization period for new government-backed insured mortgages drops to 25 years from 30 years. Ottawa lowers the maximum amount Canadians can borrow when refinancing to 80 per cent from 85 per cent and stops offering insurance on mortgages for homes worth more than $1-million, instead requiring borrowers for such homes to make a minimum down payment of 20 per cent.

April 18, 2011: Ottawa withdraws government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes, such as home equity lines of credit.
March 18, 2011: The maximum amortization period for government-backed insured mortgages is cut to 30 years from 35 years and the maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing their mortgages is reduced to 85 per cent from 90 per cent of the value of their homes.

April 19, 2010: Ottawa introduces a requirement that all borrowers meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term. The government also lowers the maximum amount Canadians can withdraw in refinancing their mortgages to 90 per cent from 95 per cent of the value of their homes and requires a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties bought for speculation.

Oct. 15, 2008: The maximum amortization period for new government-backed mortgages is fixed at 35 years and a requirement for a minimum down payment of 5 per cent is introduced. Ottawa also establishes a consistent minimum credit-score requirement and introduces new loan documentation standards.

What happens next?

Here are some important dates to watch out for as the changes come into effect:
  • Oct. 17: The new stress-test rules come into effect for borrowers.
  • Nov. 30: The new rules for low-ratio mortgages come into effect.
  • April 30: For most Canadians, this is the deadline day for filing taxes. The new housing rules affect when you have to declare the sale of your home to the government.
The above comments and info provided by the Globe and Mail

Will this actually work?

I guess that remains to be seen in the coming months. My take on this is that Ottawa has been pressured recently to do something about rising house prices and has acted prematurely before assessing the risks and consequences on the economy. I get that rising house prices are a concern. They are a concern for me and my business as well. But rising house prices are a direct outcome of a continued low interest rate policy and a supply and demand issue in the Toronto markets. If Ottawa is concerned about cooling off the market why not address these two factors directly. Why not give builders and developers incentives to build more homes? Why not make it easier to sever large lots in the city and create more homes within the city boundaries? Why not make it easier to change commercially zoned properties which have large parcels of land in order to make them residential sub divisions in order to create more housing within the city? Why not look at the Bank of Canadas interest policy and make changes on that front? 

Instead Ottawa throws a monkey wrench into the equation which of course is driven by a tax revenue generating policy on foreign investors as well as making it harder for first time buyers to qualify for a mortgage which allows them to buy a home. In today's market first time buyers are already having a difficult time getting into the market. Why make it harder by promoting a policy that makes it even harder for them to get a mortgage which can service the average price of a home in the city? Why not concentrate on providing a policy which will allow more homes to be available to them. After all home buying is what has been driving our economy in a positive direction for years. 

With regards to Foreign investment I do agree that it may be a good idea to put some pressure on that segment and try and cool off foreign investors from paying high prices and driving up house prices but be cautious because if they decide its not a good place to buy they will buy elsewhere and promote other economies instead of ours. A slight increase in costs to foreign investors makes sense but lets use the tax dollars that comes in from that in order to provide a grant to first time buyers who are local or provide incentives to  builders to build more homes in order to alleviate the supply issue. Why not use tax revenue to help other Canadians  who need it? After all it will help our economy. 

In terms of whats coming ahead I have already heard a number of lenders are tightening their lending guidelines and making it harder to get financing on rental properties and making it harder to refinance by introducing new fees on refinances. They are also going to become more prudent on reviewing insured mortgages. This is what ultimately will effect the market. If Lenders tighten up and the flow of lending slows then in my experience this may effect a buyers choice and ability to purchase a property. By lenders making it more difficult to borrow, the outcome to sales I am sure will show. It will be interesting to see how the sales reports go in the next few months. My guess is that it will be really busy in the next few months as buyers and sellers are jumping to act quickly and things will cool in the coming months. If you are a seller who is looking to sell and downgrade or looking to sell your property and rent, now may be a good time to do so and time the market on your next purchase.

Let's see how the next couple of months of sales go. If you are interested in keeping up with sales reports feel welcome to visit my website at www.iListTorontoHomes.com and subscribe to my newsletter. 

For any questions on the market feel welcome to call me at 416-856-5408 or email me ataprasoulis@gmail.com