This past week Markham Councillor Karen Rea brought forth a motion to have a foreign buyers tax instituted for the province. The motion was denied 8-4. Residents voiced their concerns that foreign buyers are purchasing properties and leaving them vacant. Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti challenged the residents by stating “if there are 5-10 houses empty on a street, show me where that street is.”
Home owners are admitting that their home values have gone up by leaps and bounds, but to stay in Markham they would need to pay a ridiculous price. Detached home prices are up 25.8% in Markham-Unionville over a 12-month average.
With the prices going up to levels that have never been seen before the public is pointing fingers as to who is making all the purchases. “In general people know who you are talking about. It must be the Chinese”, said Regional Councillor Joe Li. Although, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported that just 4.9% of GTA homes are purchased by foreign buyers. There are some who still dispute this claim, a local realtor stated, “foreign buyers are a serious problem in Markham. The numbers are more than 5%”.
The Toronto Real Estate Board and Ontario Real Estate Association have both quickly tried to extinguish any notion of a foreign buyers’ tax in Ontario. Tim Hudak, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and CEO of the OREA, calls the proposed tax ‘discriminatory’, “the core issue is about supply” he added.
In August, the BC government implemented 15% tax on foreign buyers or properties in Metro Vancouver. The market there had started cooling earlier in 2016, but since the tax came into effect, sales have tumbled 44% from their peak in February 2016.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Now that the motion to have a foreign buyers tax has been denied for the province of Ontario, it is business as usual. There is still a dire need for inventory as the industry has an abundance of buyers looking to enter the market. With great schools, multi-cultural neighbourhoods and an overall higher quality of life, it is no wonder why the Markham-Unionville and Stouffville areas are one of the most sought after areas in the province. It does not matter whether the buyer is foreign or domestic, if a buyer wants their dream home, in their dream neighbourhood, they will pay whatever price to get it.