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Ontario Foreign Buyer Tax 2017

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

On April 20th, the Ontario government announced a sweeping series of 16 different initiatives, all designed to slow the real estate market. Perhaps the most contentious proposal is to add a 15% tax for non-resident foreign buyers of residential real estate in southern Ontario. Here is my take on the new tax:

And here is a complete transcript of the video:

Hey there everybody. It’s Randy Selzer here. Welcome back to my real estate channel.

Today is kind of a red letter day. It’s actually April the 20th, 2017, and today our provincial government here in the province of Ontario rolled out a major initiative on real estate in trying to cool off the real estate market. They rolled out a plan with 16 different components that they’re going to be implementing, which is going to, I think, drastically affect the real estate market here locally.

Anyways, today we’re only going to talk about one thing, the first item out of the 16. That is the imposition of a foreign buyer’s speculation tax, is what they’re calling it, a non-resident speculation tax, which they’re going to be rolling out in the very near future, and, which will consist of a 15% tax to pay on closing when a foreigner, or a non-resident of Canada, purchases residential real estate in the province of Ontario.

Before we get into the details, this is going to apply for a large area of southern Ontario, basically going from Niagara Falls up to Hamilton, out to the west towards Kitchener-Waterloo, all throughout the GTA, north to Orillia and Barrie, over eastwards to the Kawarthas and Peterborough, so it’s a large chunk of southern Ontario where this tax will apply. Although it hasn’t been put into law yet, they have to put it through the legislature to make it into law, it will be retroactive to tomorrow, April the 21st. Anyone entering into an agreement of purchase and sale, if that purchaser does not live in Canada, and they’re a non-resident, non-Canadian, they will be obliged to pay a 15% tax on their purchase of residential property going forward. That’s going to be a major effect, I think, on the local market.

There are a number of different details, which they’ve released. I think some of the stuff is probably still being worked out. There’s going to be certain exemptions. For example, if a foreigner, non-resident, is married to a Canadian citizen, there will be no tax to pay. That’s interesting. I can foresee perhaps there will be a lot of marriages coming up to Canadians in the near future, because that will make them exempt from the tax. There’s also going to be some provisions where people can get their … If they pay the tax, they’ll be able to get that money back if they immigrate to Canada within four years of purchasing the property and paying the tax. They can get that money back, apparently, with interest. That’s in the press release that the government put out.

Also, there’s going to be some special provisions for students. I believe what they said was that if a student has been going to school here for at least two years, that student may be able to purchase some property without paying the tax. That’s a good thing, because I know for a fact that there are a lot of parents who send their kids here for university, and they like to buy a condo for them to live in during the course of their studies, rather than pay rent. Hopefully that’s going to mitigate things a little bit.

Let’s talk a little bit about the history of the tax. This 15% tax was originally rolled out in British Columbia last year, in 2016, in the greater Vancouver area. The people there, the politicians there, were trying to do the same thing to slow down the booming Vancouver real estate market. Vancouver’s a little different, in that they determined that about 10^% of all the purchasers in Vancouver were foreign buyers, people from other countries who are buying property in the Vancouver area.

Toronto’s numbers are a little bit lower. We had to complete a survey last year conducted by Ipsos Reid, was mandatory for all of the realtors to do, and they were able to determine that in Toronto, it’s about half that amount. Somewhere between 4% and 5% of all the purchases, all the buyers in the Toronto area, are foreign buyers.

When Vancouver rolled out the tax last summer, there was an immediate effect. Basically, all the foreign buyers dried up. They stopped … Very few people are going to pay on a $1 million purchase of a home, very few people want to pay $150,000 in tax, in addition to the basic land transfer tax on the day they get their keys. I think very few people, no matter how wealthy you are, are willing to spend that kind of money just to pay a tax. That dried up right away. But an interesting thing happened in B.C., where the local buyers, Canadian buyers, also decided to step back, because they wanted to wait and see where the prices would fall. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and prices and activity did fall rather dramatically in the Vancouver area over the course of last summer and fall.

What we see now is that the Vancouver market seems to have picked up again, and even without foreign buyers, and it seems to be headed upwards once again. Whether or not this drop will happen here in the Toronto area, we’re not sure yet. Again, this was just announced this morning, and we’ll have to be watching the market very carefully going forward to see where it’s headed.

There’s something I’d like to mention. This was rolled out, again, this morning. They’re calling it a non-resident speculation tax. I have a problem with this, the way they’ve packaged this, because think about it. If a Canadian buys a house in Florida, does that automatically make them a speculator? Or if a wealthy Canadian buys a condo in New York City, does that automatically make them a speculator? Or could it just possibly be that they want to invest in that property in Florida, or in New York, just for their own benefit, or to rent out, or just simply as an investment?

The fact that they rolled it out as a speculation tax, I think is a little bit disingenuous. Let’s not make these people into the bogey man. This 5% of the buyers out there, they’re not the ones that are driving the market. The fact that they’re calling it a speculation tax is really not at all the situation. You can’t call anybody who buys a house, a foreigner who buys a property in Canada, automatically a speculator. I just wanted to mention that.

Anyway, so anyway you look at it though, this is going to take effect once they pass it into law. It will take effect, and the lawyers are going to be busy if there’s anybody, foreign countries, who decides to purchase property.

It’s just for residential properties. It is only for units up to six residential units. It’s going to apply for houses, and semis, and townhouses, and condos, up to six units, so duplexes, and triplexes, up to six-plexes. Anything over that, like a large apartment building, for example, if an investor wants to buy that, and they happen to live overseas, there’s no tax to pay on it, so only up to six units.

Anyways, that’s the first of the 16. That’s all we’re going to talk about today. I’m not sure this is the best thing for our government to be doing. It’s not addressing the primary problem that we have in the real estate market here, which is so simple. We have an imbalance of supply and demand. There’s more demand than there is supply. For every house that comes on the market, every house or condo, there’s 10, or 15, or 20 buyers that want to buy it. That’s an imbalance. By imposing this tax, I think it’s too superficial. That’s not really the problem we have, but we’ll talk about that another time.

Anyways, thank you for joining me again today. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. If you have any comments, if you’re on YouTube, I welcome them. If you’re on any other social media, I always like to talk to you guys. If you want to call me or text me, 416-433-3556, and I’d be happy to talk to you.

Thanks a lot, and have a great day. Bye.

Top 100 Neighborhoods to Invest in Canada

November 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Top 100 Neighborhoods to Invest in Canada

Mississauga was recognized as one of the Top 100 neighborhoods to invest in Canada, in the recently published annual investment guide put out by Canadian Real Estate Magazine. I was asked to contribute to the article, and in it we review three separate areas of Mississauga – Clarkson, Cooksville, and Meadowvale Village. In the guide we review detailed information on population, population growth, vacancy rates, cap rates, average price, average rent, and projected cash flow.

Canadian Real Estate Magazine puts out this special issue every year to provide investors with comparative information for cities across Canada. See the video here:

Clarkson

Clarkson has been selected as a good place to invest due to several reasons. It is an older area, where the price of housing is a bit less than some of the newer areas of Mississauga. It nevertheless has an excellent location, with close proximity to the QEW highway, the Clarkson GO station, as well as good schools and shopping. One profitable strategy for investors in Clarkson has been to purchase semi-detached homes with a separate basement apartment. This way, the investor benefits from two streams of income – one from upstairs, and one from downstairs.

Cooksville

Cooksville, along with Clarkson and Meadowvale, was one of the original towns which were amalgamated to form the City of Mississauga. Cooksville is centered near Dundas and Hurontario streets, the old intersection known as 5 + 10. It is also an older area, with pockets of reasonably priced homes that attract good rents. Cooksville may also benefit if the planned and fully funded Hurontario LRT is eventually built. As it is today Cooksville is ideally located near the QEW highway, and features Trillium Hospital, a major employer and source of good tenants.

MeadowVale Village

Meadowvale Village is situated in the extreme northern edge of Mississauga, and has great connectivity to Pearson Airport, highway 401, and the major employment areas which surround the airport. Once again, for the investor we recommend the semi-detached house, with a separate basement apartment, for an ideal source of two streams of income.

These are just three neighborhoods in Mississauga which we are highlighting in Canadian Real Estate Magazine. There are many other options for anyone looking to invest in real estate, including excellent opportunities with condos in the Square One area. For much more information, see my main site here: www.randyselzer.com

Tweetable: Canada #realestate is a great place to invest. Check out the top 100 Neighborhoods. http://ctt.ec/AdSHN+ @randyselzer
 

Rattray Marsh Mississauga

The Rattray Marsh

Rattray Marsh Mississauga

The Rattray Marsh

The Rattray Marsh is a wetlands nature conservation area at the extreme southern end of Clarkson, in southwest Mississauga, Ontario. Long established as an oasis of calm and nature in the heart of Toronto’s largest suburb, the park fronts onto the northern shore of Lake Ontario, and features an extensive network of raised boardwalk trails that traverse forested areas, open grasslands, as well as a large marsh. The whole area is a paradise for bird watchers, and nature lovers in general, and is a welcome respite from the bustling city of Mississauga.

Rattray Marsh boardwalk

strolling the extensive boardwalk

Rattray Marsh can be accessed from Bexhill Rd. as well as Silver Birch Trail. There is limited on street parking, as well as nearby surface parking at the Jack Darling Memorial Park.

Mississauga Rattray Marsh

unspoiled wetlands with Lake Ontario in the distance

On our visit on a recent sunny spring day, we encountered a few local hikers and several birdwatchers, but much of the time it was relatively empty, and just a treat to explore. Bicycles and inline skates are not allowed in the park, and while dogs are allowed, they must be on a leash. The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily, and admission is free, or with optional donation. Rattray Marsh is managed by the Credit Valley Conservation authority.

Rattray Marsh Mississauga

heaven for bird watchers

The Rattray Marsh is also a big draw in Mississauga real estate circles, and houses located in the surrounding area are luxury properties that sell at a premium. Being located near the park means you are also located near the shores of Lake Ontario, and these two factors create an unbeatable attractiveness when scouting for a house location. You can find more information about the real estate aspect of living near the park at my main site here.

 

 

 

Credit Mills Mississauga Review

January 16, 2015 Leave a comment
Credit Mills home

Credit Mills luxury home

The real estate numbers for 2014 are in for Credit Mills, one of Mississauga’s most sought after and exclusive areas. Thirty sales were reported in this area through the Toronto Real Estate Board MLS, with sale prices ranging between the $1 and $2 million dollar mark.

During 2014, the average asking price in Credit Mills was $1,426,362, and the average selling price was $1,375,556, making a ratio of 96% sale to asking price. Average time it took to sell was 29 days, which is a relatively short time frame for luxury homes in a higher price bracket.

Credit Mills is one of the newer luxury subdivisions in Mississauga, and can be characterized as very large properties on manageable, medium sized lots. One of the great attractions of this area is close proximity to the Streetsville GO station, and well as its location within the highly rated John Fraser Secondary School district – highest rated high school in Mississauga, and one of the highest rated in all of Ontario.

For a complete review of this fine area, check here for my full article on Credit Mills homes

House Prices – Why Most ‘Experts’ Have it Wrong

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

A steady stream of experts in the mainstream media have been predicting a fall in Canadian real estate prices. How can prices be so high? And how can they keep on rising? Surely we are due for a correction!

Some nationally known authors such as Garth Turner have been preaching doom and gloom for over 10 years now, Turner for so long that he has actually missed the entire bull market….and yet he still gets press attention, even after being dead wrong for so many years..

Most of these so-called experts make a fundamental mistake when examining the Canadian real estate market – they confuse Cause and Effect. The high prices in Toronto and Vancouver, you see, are not the Cause of the market – they are the Effect.

So when they decry high prices in Canada, they are missing the point..they are attacking the Effect of the market, not the Cause – a fundamental mistake.

The causes of the bull market we have enjoyed in Canada for the last 15 years or so are three fold:

1.) low interest rates

As long as interest rates remain low, the market will continue

2.) a decent economy

As long as the Canadian economy remains decent, and there are jobs being created, the market will continue

3.) continued immigration into Canada

Here I am talking about the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), my area of expertise, although the same rule applies for any Canadian cities where there are large numbers of people moving into the area.

As long as government policy facilitates continued immigration into Canada’s large cities, the market in those cities will continue.

If we look at these three Causes – the Causes of the real estate boom in Canada, there is still room for optimism. Our Federal Government is loath to increase interest rates, as it boosts the Canadian dollar too high, killing our manufacturing industry vis a vis the United States. The U.S., with its current set of problems, has indicated that it will retain low rates for at least the next two years, so the outlook for Canada’s rates remains low for the foreseeable future.

As for a decent economy, the Canadian economy actually seems to be improving; everywhere I look these days in my home town of Mississauga, or anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area, there are ‘help wanted’ or ‘now hiring’ signs….so the economy, in spite of some global macro issues, seems to be on the right track.

And finally, unless there is a change in government policy, Canada continues to welcome new immigrants from all across the globe. All these folks (reportedly 100,000 per year moving into the Toronto area) need somewhere to live, and many arrive in Canada with money to buy property. God bless ’em..

So there is my take on the Canadian real estate market. Sure, there are issues of absolute affordability, but we in the GTA have only to look at Vancouver to see that much greater prices are indeed possible, as long as the three causes of the market remain in place. If any of these change – is rates start rising, if the economy goes in the tank, or if immigration dries up – then the market will slow. Until then, the future is bright. Whenever you read a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in the mainstream media saying that the market will fall because prices are ‘too high’, know that they are mixing up cause and effect; they are addressing the effect of the market, not the cause.

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