Ontario might be on the verge of a leadership change with the upcoming election. The Progressive Conservative Party (PC), led by Doug Ford, currently has a 21-point lead over the incumbent, the Liberal Party of Canada. While it is far from decided, it’s not too early to consider the ramifications.
If the shift occurs, the new leadership could bring forth other changes, some of which could impact the GTA housing market.
The Housing Market
Both parties are building their campaigns in part on affordable housing and the current state of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing market, easily the biggest driver of both the national and provincial housing market. The biggest change could come at the philosophical level as Doug Ford would like to see less Government intervention in the market.
The housing market has the potential to be a deciding factor in the upcoming election.
The Fair Housing Plan
Kathleen Wynne has built much of her re-election bid on the fair housing plan while the opposition has refuted the plan’s ability and wants to remove many of its components. Ford has specifically spoken about repelling the foreign buyer tax.
One could argue for both sides of this plan’s effectiveness, but this recent intervention was necessary to ensure that supply met demand and to protect borrowers and lenders.
Foreign Buyer Tax
One area where the parties will butt heads is the 15% foreign buyer tax. Introduced in April 2017, this tax is placed on properties purchased by buyers who are not permanent residents. Ford believes the tax helped deflate the market.
As part of the fair housing plan, the foreign buyer tax was designed to cool the market but only from non-residents who were buying properties, circumventing taxes and raising prices. Removing the foreign buyer tax might not impact the housing market so Ontarians need to ask themselves is if government intervention is helpful or should the market simply dictate.
Ontario might undergo some political changes this June. Speculating is rarely a good idea, but as the election approaches, people must consider how a shift in leadership could lead to a shift in the housing market.