Montreal not dismissing foreign home buyer tax as an option

Montreal not dismissing foreign home buyer tax as an option

Montreal not dismissing foreign home buyer tax as an option

The Montreal government is not ruling out the imposition of a foreign home buyers' tax similar to that implemented in Vancouver and Toronto.

Mayor Valérie Plante stated that such a levy will be applied if it is what’s needed to ensure the market’s affordability in the long term.

“Here in Montreal, this is not where I’m going for now, though we are really checking on the market on regular basis,” Plante told BNN Bloomberg.

“If needed, we might go there, but right now we’re using different tools that we have to make sure we have this balance of creating social and affordable housing. But for that, I need both provincial and federal help.”

Plante noted that this circumspect approach as necessary, as despite record price growth, Montreal is still considered affordable compared to other Canadian and U.S. markets. 

“We are this big city, but people can still afford to live downtown and I do want to protect that as mayor of Montreal,” she said. “A lot of investors are interested in Montreal, and so I need to find the right balance. So yes, I want to welcome those investments – but at the same time, how do we make sure that anyone can afford to stay in the city?”

Read more: Chinese property buyers veering away from Toronto, Vancouver

The city has long outstripped Toronto and Vancouver in terms of home price growth, according to February numbers from the latest edition of the TeranetNational Bank of Canada House Price Index.

In February, Montreal prices have grown by 0.36% from the previous month and 5.15% year-over-year, reaching a historic high for the month. To compare, overall prices nationwide declined by 0.4% month-over-month, and only 1.87% larger than the same time last year.

“The market peak was reached in September 2018, and prices are down 1.43% from there,” Better Dwelling stated in its analysis of the Index.

Toronto housing prices shrunk by 0.22% from January to February, and increased by 3.56% annually. Vancouver’s fell by 0.68% monthly, and dropped by 1.11% year-over-year.