Montreal mayor: 'No need for foreign buyers' tax yet,' hoping for feds' help on housing
The mayor of Montreal isn’t ruling out the possibility of following Vancouver and Toronto in imposing a foreign homebuyers’ tax as a way to ensure affordability in the city.
“Here in Montreal, this is not where I’m going for now, though we are really checking on the market on regular basis,” Valérie Plante told BNN Bloomberg’s Amber Kanwar Monday, referring to the measure introduced in Vancouver and Toronto that has targeted foreign real estate investors.
“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.”
Home sales in the Montreal region rose five per cent year-over-year in February, as the median price of single-family homes climbed six per cent to $310,000, according to the latest data from the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board.
Plante added that while Montreal’s housing market has been heating up, the city 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,” Plante said.
“A lot of investors are interested in Montreal, and so I need to find the right balance,” she added. “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?”
Plante’s comments come on the eve of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s pre-election budget, in which housing affordability is expected to be one of the issues that the government addresses.
Montreal plans to create 12,000 units of affordable and social housing by 2021, which Plante said she hopes her provincial and federal counterparts can help finance.