TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Ontario’s finance minister, Charles Sousa, on Thursday confirmed he will meet with federal counterpart Bill Morneau next week to discuss measures to cool Toronto’s housing market and set a date of April 27 for the province’s annual budget.
The acceleration in home prices in Toronto has prompted some economists to worry the real estate market in Canada’s largest city is in a bubble and has raised concerns about the ability of first-time buyers to afford a home.
The Sousa-Morneau meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
Economists are anticipating the budget will include measures to cool Toronto’s housing market. The province’s options include a foreign buyers tax, similar to that introduced in British Columbia last year, or an increase in capital gains tax on homes that are not principal residences.
“There is no silver bullet to solve this complex issue,” Sousa said in a speech to business leaders in Toronto. “But in the coming days you will hear more of what we plan to do.”
Sousa said the province was looking at a number of alternatives to temper housing prices in Toronto, which soared by a record 33 percent last month.
Speaking to reporters after the speech, Sousa said he had been speaking with British Columbia’s finance minister, Mike de Jong, to find out how the 15 percent property transfer tax on foreign real estate buyers had affected the market.
“I wanted to get a sense from him what happened before and after,” Sousa said. “This is a concern in terms of any unintended consequences from the decisions that we make.
“We’re trying to figure out what we can do this without over-correcting the system while at the same time providing support for those trying to get into the market.”
Additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill Trott