Mayor John Tory seeks ways to cool the overheated housing market
Toronto mayor to meet with housing, planning and financial experts.
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Mayor John Tory will convene a meeting of experts to help determine what’s behind the soaring cost of Toronto’s house and rental market and to see what, if anything, should be done about it.
Tory said Monday he is “deeply concerned” about housing affordability in Canada’s largest city, where the average price of a detached home has pushed past the $1.5 million mark.
“There hasn’t been any kind of unanimity on the answer as to what we might do,” Tory said Monday after meeting with provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa.
Read Metro's Code Red series on Toronto's housing crisis:
Appropriate data is needed to determine how to “temper the marketplace,” not just in Toronto but across the region, Sousa said.
“We worry about first-time home buyers and new families trying to get into the marketplace,” the minister told reporters at Toronto City Hall.
“The biggest issue is low borrowing costs, low supply, relative to demand,” he said, adding “the degree to which local buyers is the issue versus say local speculators, that’s to be determined.”
A new report by Ryerson’s City Building Institute is urging policymakers to take immediate action to cool the overheated market, whether by introducing a foreign home buyers’ tax or a progressive property tax.
“As housing bubbles are allowed to expand, many are hurt or drawn into unsustainable financial situations. This is particularly the case for young Torontonians,” says the report released Monday.
“When housing bubbles unwind, there is major collateral damage and people are hurt through little or no fault of their own. And the historical record is that they do unwind, essentially without fail.”
Tory leaves Tuesday on a 10-day trade mission to India, but said upon his return he will gather “some of the best housing, planning and financial experts” to seek their advice of the cause of skyrocketing prices and “what they think we should do about it.”
The mayor is also asking city manager Peter Wallace to report, by the end of the month, on the federal-provincial working group’s progress on housing prices.