The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has some suggestions for the winner of the June 2 provincial election, including doubling the Land Transfer Tax (LTT) rebate for first-time purchasers and scrapping exclusionary zoning.

“As of March, 10 out of 36 real estate markets in Ontario had an average home price over a million dollars, and six others are on the verge of breaking the million-dollar mark. High prices are driving young families right out of the province to find a home they can afford,” OREA CEO Tim Hudak said.

READ: No Fresh Housing Initiatives Announced in Ontario Budget

“Ontario stands to lose its edge as one of the most attractive places to raise a family or start a business because of the runaway cost of housing. For a political party to win in June, they need to show voters they have the solutions for Ontario’s housing affordability crisis.”

OREA suggests the winning party double the LTT rebate for first-time homebuyers to $8,000 and index it to inflation, as well as end exclusionary zoning because it actually makes homes less affordable. Instead, OREA says the next provincial government should use the provincial Planning Act to implement as-of-right zoning in high-demand urban neighbourhoods in Ontario to permit the construction of multi-family plexes in lieu of only single-family housing.

The real estate association has also taken aim at ill-gotten gains in real estate. Canadian real estate is awash in money derived from criminal activities and OREA suggests a provincial beneficial ownership registry, which would proscribe registering numbered companies on title and instead require a name, that’s publicly accessible as a way to keep dirty money out of the housing market.

Prices across Ontario have tripled in the last decade, and upward price pressure will only intensify because major urban markets are on the cusp of demographical shifts. However, incomes have only increased by 30% during the period, and according to a recent National Bank of Bank of Canada report, it would take 26.5 years on an income of $195,000 to save enough money for a down payment on an average priced home in Toronto.

“What used to be a GTA issue, is now a province-wide problem. Smaller, more rural communities are seeing rapid increases in housing prices unlike any other time in history,” OREA President Stacey Evoy said. “The housing affordability crisis will not fix itself. We are at a turning point and Ontario needs significant leadership from the government to ensure more Ontarians can find a great place to call home.”

Real Estate News