Foreign buyer home purchases declining in Ontario region covered by non-resident tax

A sold sign is shown in front of west-end Toronto homes, Sunday, April 9, 2017.
A sold sign is shown in front of west-end Toronto homes, Sunday, April 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

TORONTO – New figures show foreign buyer home purchases are declining in a region of Ontario covered by a non-resident tax.

The provincial government says that people who aren’t citizens or permanent residents, as well as foreign corporations, accounted for 1.9 per cent of the transactions in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region — which includes Toronto — from Aug. 19 to Nov. 17.

READ MORE: Home sales to foreign buyers drop in southern Ontario

That is down from 3.2 per cent from the previous three months — a period that also saw a decline from the 4.7 per cent recorded in the first month the non-resident speculation tax was in effect.

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In Toronto, the latest figures show 3.8 per cent of transactions were made by foreign buyers, which is lower than the 5.6 per cent in the previous three months.

The 15 per cent tax was imposed in April on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area — stretching from the Niagara Region to Peterborough — who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations.

READ MORE: Ontario government to impose 15% tax on foreign homebuyers, expand rent control

The province has so far collected about $133 million from the tax, though that includes transactions that could be subject to rebates, such as people who subsequently get citizenship or permanent resident status, as well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and international students.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and Statistics Canada released data Tuesday showing that foreign buyers make up a minuscule portion of the overall housing market in the country, but what they own is more expensive and newer than the average Canadian homeowner.

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