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Two Perspectives on Surging Canadian Housing Costs
A debate piece looks at the issue of rising housing costs in Canadian cities and whether foreign buyers are the source of the problem. Bob Hutchings argues that non-residents are buying up a large percentage of housing in cities like Vancouver and leaving many of these units vacant. The result is increasing property costs, which is putting a strain on Canadian buyers and renters.
"What needs to be done, and with some great urgency, is to pass a law stating that non-residents can no longer buy in Canada, or, at the very least, have a 50 to 75 per cent tax on foreign buyers," says Hutchings.
Philip Cross, however, believes that restricting non-residents from buying homes is misplaced blame and will not solve Canada’s housing problems. The issue, he says, is a housing market that has not kept up with the increase in demand, fueled by lower interest rates and a crash in oil prices.
Supply has not met demand because of policies, such as zoning regulations and rent control, that have hindered construction, according to Cross. "The only sustainable long-term solution to soaring home prices in Toronto and Vancouver is to loosen the regulations stifling supply — a process underway at least in Ontario — while reining in demand."