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Quebec open to foreign buyer’s tax, but no plans for now: Leitao

WATCH ABOVE: Some provinces in Canada have already introduced a foreign buyer's tax.

Quebec’s finance minister says he has no short-term plans to introduce a foreign buyer’s tax but is open to the idea if one is needed.

Carlos Leitao says his department is closely monitoring whether a planned tax in the Greater Toronto Area will have a large spillover effect on Montreal housing prices.

READ MORE: Ontario finance minister can’t say if foreign buyer tax will affect GTA housing market

British Columbia implemented a similar tax in Vancouver last year.

However, he said the current number of foreign buyers in Montreal is “relatively marginal” and that forecasts for a five to six per cent growth in prices this year signal a healthy, balanced market.

READ MORE: A foreign buyers tax enjoys strong support right across Canada: report

The former bank economist says it’s wrong to blame foreign buyers for soaring prices in Canada’s two most expensive real estate markets – Toronto and Vancouver – when buying was led mostly by domestic players.

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READ MORE: Some foreign buyers get break from Vancouver tax

A possible housing price correction in Toronto could have a spillover effect on Quebec’s economy, but shouldn’t hurt the real estate markets in Montreal or Quebec City, Leitao added.

He says housing in Quebec remains affordable even if prices grow above historic levels.

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