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Housing affordability issues are causing an exodus from Canada’s largest markets. According to Statistics Canada, during the past six years the number of Toronto residents who relocated to other parts of Ontario doubled, while the number of Montreal residents who moved to other parts of Quebec tripled.

Could taxing investment properties help reel in runaway home prices, keeping people closer to home and increasing the ability for first-time buyers to enter the market? Read about affordability issues, luxury real estate trends, and potential investment markets in Livabl’s weekly roundup of Canadian housing news and trends.

Housing prices pushing people away from Toronto and Montreal: Recent Statistics Canada figures show that the population of Toronto and Montreal decreased for the first time in a generation, dropping 16,500 and 47,000, respectively, between July 2020 and July 2021. A National Post editorial tabs housing affordability as the biggest factor, blaming municipal zoning laws that prevent both densification and new home construction, keeping prices high and contributing to an exodus that dates back to 2015.

Singapore ratchets up taxes on investment homes: Last month Singapore boosted its Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD), increasing taxes on investment properties to tamp down investor demand. Citizens will pay 17 per cent for second homes and 25 per cent for subsequent purchases, permanent residents will be taxed 25 and 30 per cent, while foreign buyers will pay 30 per cent on any purchase. The Toronto Star examines how similar measures could impact Canada’s biggest market, and how the ABSD differs from Toronto’s Land Transfer Tax.

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Wealthy going underground with multi-level luxury basements: While Bruce Wayne had his high-tech subterranean Batcave, Canada’s wealthy have begun investing in sprawling below-grade mansions featuring karaoke lounges, billiard rooms, basketball courts, golf simulators, swimming pools, theatres and more. Digging deep to uncover the newest trend in luxury real estate, Maclean’s explores both the benefits and drawbacks of multi-level ‘iceberg’ basements and how they’re challenging traditional notions of domesticity.

Four potential investment markets focused on affordability: Home prices have surged in Canada’s most sought-after markets, making a 20 per cent down payment tougher for housing investors to scratch together. Even previously affordable markets like Kitchener-Waterloo, Halifax and Hamilton have sent investors searching for affordable alternatives. From Edmonton’s economic diversity to Fredericton’s small-town feel, the Vancouver Sun highlights four Canadian markets with intriguing fundamentals where homes cost well below the national average.

A plea for political action to address Toronto’s housing market: Low interest rates and rampant investor speculation have sent Toronto housing demand surging through the pandemic. However, a Toronto Sun column says decades of political hand-wringing have pushed the city’s housing market to its breaking point, with insufficient housing starts, bureaucratic red tape, restrictive zoning and NIMBYism producing a housing crisis that government officials refuse to address with any type of meaningful action.

 

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