Three Theories for Cooling the Housing Markets in Canada’s Hottest Cities

Toronto and Vancouver have markets perceived to be totally out of control, to the point of policy-makers calling “emergency” meetings to discuss the causes and strategies. How can the rules be adapted to cool things off? At Vancouver’s meeting, three ideas were proposed.

  1. Refine mortgage qualification – the mortgage payment:income ratio can be scaled up or down. Right now, maximum 40% of a buyer’s income can go to a mortgage payment. Decreasing this would result in fewer qualified mortgages.
  2. Increase the banks’ capital requirements – if banks are required to keep higher reserves, naturally, they will increase interest rates and/or tense up their underwriting guidelines to protect themselves against buyers defaulting on their loans. If it is more expensive to loan, banks will have less incentive to do so.
  3. Tax foreign buyers specifically – other countries including Hong Kong, Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Mexico apply specialized tax for non-permanent residents who buy local real estate. Economists think foreign investors trying to avoid taxation or parking cash in residential real estate drive up the prices in the hotter markets while homes remain vacant. Applying the tax could help alleviate the issue; how much this would actually help is hotly debated.

Source: Buzz Buzz Home