As home prices soar across the country, Canada could finally crack down on foreign homebuyers who critics say are partially responsible for price hikes and dwindling availability.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a temporary ban on non-recreational residential sales to foreign homebuyers in a mandate letter sent to Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen yesterday.
“As Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, your overarching goal is to help ensure Canadians can get a home of their own, through work to improve housing affordability and end chronic homelessness, and to champion the full breadth of our country’s vibrant diversity through greater inclusion,” Trudeau wrote, before offering a list of recommendations in attempt to cool Canada’s red-hot market.
Trudeau says the move to crackdown on foreign homebuyers will help ensure that homes don’t sit vacant and unavailable to would-be Canadian homebuyers in a climate of incredibly tight supply and defeated young people.
In the letter, the prime minister also asked for “increased consumer protection and transparency in real estate transactions, including a ban on blind bidding,” and an anti-flipping tax on residential properties, requiring that properties are held for at least 12 months. The prime minister also called for the prevention of “renovictions.”
Furthermore, Trudeau recommended reviewing down payment requirements for investment properties.
Trudeau’s letter comes as Toronto City Councillor Mike Colle is set to introduce a motion that recommends a speculation tax in the increasingly unaffordable city.
It also comes days after Canada’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland acknowledged that it would take “years” to fix the challenges responsible for the dire state of Canada’s housing market.
In the meantime, the average price of a home in Canada surged to an all-time high in November.
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