Figures released by the Province’s Ministry of Finance show the Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) – brought in by the Liberal Government last year to cool the housing market – collected $53m in York Region compared with $82.8m in the whole of Toronto.
The table alongside shows that tax collected from speculators operating in Toronto and York Region dwarfs the tax-take from elsewhere in the GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton).
The tax figures cover the period from April 2017 to February 2018. They show that 682 speculation tax payments were made in Toronto over this period.
But, astonishingly, 339 speculation tax payments were made in York Region – almost exactly half as much as the whole of Toronto.
Plague of Locusts
No wonder house prices in Newmarket and in surrounding areas have been going through the roof. The speculators have descended on our neighbourhoods like a plague of locusts.
The Premier Designate, Doug Ford, has himself been speculating about what he might do with the tax on speculators. He is toying with the idea of abolishing it saying housing supply and demand should be left to the market.
Expecting profound insights from Doug Ford on the operation of the housing market (or indeed anything else) is asking for more than he is capable of delivering.
We don't know what he is going to do yet. More worryingly, he doesn't know either.
We shall see what, if anything, the new Government has to say after Ministers are sworn in on 29 June 2018.
Yesterday members of York Regional Council asked the Province for a chunk of the Non-Resident Speculation Tax to help it take initiatives promoting more rental housing. You can read the report here.
Housing crisis in York Region
There is a housing crisis in York Region where even people with a household income of between $80,000 and $120,000 are finding it difficult to buy - or to rent.
There was much talk of increasing rental supply and giving incentives to developers to construct purpose-built rental.
Aurora’s Mayor, Geoffrey Dawe, the resident clown on York Regional Council, wondered what was to prevent
“the fabulously wealthy Mayor of Newmarket”
getting one of these units?
Answer from the Region's Chief Planner: There would be specified criteria the applicants would have to meet on income and such-like.
Van Trappist, true to form, made no contribution to the debate. But John Taylor, the man who is determined to succeed him as Mayor of Newmarket, had plenty to say.
In an animated little speech, Taylor tells us that 80% of people in Zurich, Switzerland, rent.
I find myself wondering if that’s because speculators have been buying up everything in Town that isn’t nailed down.