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A spokesperson for Toronto Mayor John Tory has revealed what the municipal leader plans to bring to the table on Tuesday during a scheduled meeting with the Ontario and Canadian ministers of finance.
“He will be advocating for a cautious approach and wants to make sure that any government response to the housing market is both responsible and effective,” Don Peat, Tory’s director of communications, tells BuzzBuzzNews in an emailed statement.
Mayor Tory also intends to home in on at least one specific policy measure meant to address skyhigh Toronto home prices, Peat suggests.
“He will be raising the need for better data on the issue, the possibility of a vacant homes tax and how best to increase the supply of affordable rental housing,” the statement continues.
Earlier this month, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau penned individual letters to Tory as well as Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, the Toronto Star reports.
In the letters, Morneau requested a meeting with them to address housing affordability in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average price of a detached home was more than $1.2 million in March, up 33.4 per cent from a year earlier. He expressed concern about the “long-term implications” of gains like that.
Toronto’s mayor has previously appeared skeptical about the effectiveness of another cooling measure, BC’s foreign-buyer tax for Metro Vancouver.
“I’m not sure… that that tool being used in BC is actually working,” Tory told BNN in a late-December interview last year.
He also said at the time that “there wasn’t any evidence that there was a huge problem… with respect to foreign buyers somehow artificially inflating the housing market in Toronto.”
That month, the average price of a Toronto home, including high-rise condos, was $729,922. As of March, it had soared to $916,567. Calls have been mounting for policymakers to step in and rein in parabolic price growth.