Agents on potential Toronto foreign tax

Readers from across the country have weighed in on a potential foreign buyers tax in Toronto. Here are the results.

A whopping 284 REP readers took our latest poll, which asked whether or not a foreign homebuyer’s tax in Toronto was a good idea.

And results differed based on where agents are based.

The majority (60%) of Toronto-area realtors believe a potential tax on foreign homebuyers would have a negative impact.

Voters outside Toronto, however, were split right down the middle. 49% argue it’s a good idea compared to 51% who argue the opposite.

“This is a very ill advised tax; foreign investment creates good high paying jobs. Our foreign investment in the GVRD dropped from over 2 billion in the month or so before the tax was announced to 17 million in about a month after,” REP reader Bob Edwards wrote in the forum. “Foreigners searching to buy in Vancouver has dropped by over 90% yet searches by foreigners looking to invest in Seatlle increased over 100% at the same time.

“Capital will always go where it is appreciated. Our BC government’s stupid tax and the loss of billions in investment is going to create a lot of jobs in Seattle and other investment friendly cities.”

As it stands, policymakers in Ontario – namely Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa – remain on the fence.
However, one former finance minister has come out in favour of implementing a foreign homebuyer tax in Canada’s largest city.
In a commentary written for the Financial Post last week, the man formerly tasked with presenting the country’s budget and overseeing the Bank of Canada came out in favour of taxing foreign buyers in Toronto.
He cites, among others, the influence B.C.’s 15% foreign tax – which went into effect in early August -- will have on foreigners who will instead choose to park their money in Canada’s largest city.
“Foreign, especially Chinese, buying is often motivated by finding a safe place to hedge against geopolitical risk.
Political tension in China has elevated that perceived risk, resulting in capital flight,” Oliver wrote. “The obvious implication of the B.C. tax is that high-end foreign buyers, attracted to Canada’s stable political environment, will gravitate to the GTA where housing is substantially less expensive than in Vancouver.”

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