Skip to content
19.9 °Cforecast >
Mostly Cloudy

New measures unlikely to cool Barrie's hot housing market

Wynne government announces 16-step plan to curb high home prices, rents
Canadian Real Estate Association says September home sales down from August
File photo

A 15 percent tax on foreign buyers who don't live in Canada is among 16 measures announced by the Wynne government aimed at cooling Ontario's red-hot housing market and soaring rents.

The non-resident speculation tax will hit all residential transactions in the Greater Golden Horseshoe including Barrie.

But the president of the Barrie and District Association of Realtors says it's unlikely to have a big impact on the Barrie market.

However, Rob Alexander says the province's move to put a cap on rent increases of 2.5 percent annually is good news. 

Currently only units built before 1991 are subject to such controls. 

Huge rent increases were making headlines in Toronto although Alexander hasn't heard of anything that extreme locally.

"It's certainly going to help free up the rental market I would think for the tenant," said Alexander. 

"It's a certainly going to be a good thing for the tenant base and hopefully increase rental opportunities for people."

There will be a new five-year, $125-million program to encourage the construction of new r‎ental apartments by rebating builders a portion of development charges.

The best news according to Alexander is the government's  plan to potentially open up provincially owned surplus lands for affordable and rental housing. 

That was one of the key suggestions highlighted in a recent Ontario Real Estate Association panel in Barrie by OREA CEO Tim Hudak.

Hudak says his group had over a dozen meetings with Premier Wynne, Finance Minister Sousa, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Housing Minister Chris Ballard and other senior staff to bring its ideas on home affordability forward.

"We’re pleased to see that the government has listened. For one, increasing the supply of homes is the best way to give buyers a better shot at home ownership and the government has committed to working with municipalities to remove the barriers to getting more new homes and listings on the market faster," Hudak said in a statement.

Hudak also welcomed changes to legislation that sets the rules for Realtors, first implemented in 2002.

He also called for improved education standards for realtors.

Alexander also applauded the government's intention to identify surplus land for development. 

"Anything that's going to open the door for more land to hit the market and be developed sooner than later is going to be a good thing," he said. 

In the meantime, the Barrie market is as hot as ever and continues to be very strong even with more homes coming on the market. 

"It's very definitely a sellers market.  Hard for first-time buyers right now.  Really, really tough for them getting into the market," Alexander said.

In March this year,  86 percent of residential, detached homes in Barrie sold over list, compared to 23 percent in 2016.

"Multiple offers and bidding wars have been a real factor this year," Alexander said and he believes only time will tell what will the future will bring. 

"I'd like to see where we're at this time next year," he said.