Toronto Housing Changes

How the Ontario Liberals may actually win the election

Posted by Peter Cresswell on April 22, 2017

The Toronto housing market is in the middle of a complete core meltdown at the moment with housing prices rising some 30% or more across the city year over year. That’s insane and clearly has nothing to do with the meager wage increases people may have recently seen.

At the same time, the Ontario Liberals have been in power for what seems like forever at this point to most in Ontario. The leader, Kathleen Wynne, has an approval rating that is orders of magnitude less than Trump. Mostly that’s a reflection of Ontario’s desire for change at this point since Kathleen really hasn’t been leader of the party long enough to justify that kind of thrashing.

So the writing would seem to be on the wall for the Liberals. But don’t count them out yet.

Recent proposals from the Liberals to cool the housing sector are absolutely on target to their base voters.

What Ontario is doing:

  • Expanding rent control to all private rental units
  • Introduce legislation to standardize language in rental leases and make other changes to the Residential Tenancies Act
  • Introducing a 15-per-cent “Non-Resident Speculation Tax” in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region
  • Introducing legislation to let Toronto “and potentially other municipalities” introduce vacancy taxes

The Globe And Mail

There’s a bunch more but you get what’s happening. The Liberals have finally clued in on how desperate the situation is for most people in Toronto (and across the province) and they’ve taken a look at their re-election odds and have figured the game out.

Mind you, they could have been aware of this for a while now and are only acting as the upcoming election is now within range.

It will be awkward to watch the Ontario Progressive Conservatives talk about their own plans without threatening to repeal these changes by the Liberals. They can’t like what is being passed here. But if they do, they’ll be walking into an epic trap that may be big enough to actually get the Ontario Liberals re-elected.

I doubt the changes here are enough to protect the province from the flood of cheap money coming into the province (mostly from China) but it’s a start. And it’s a politically smart move by the Liberals.