It’s incredibly dispiriting to know that despite my financial responsibility there is almost no chance that I’ll ever own property in the city I live in, and a possibility that at some point rent alone will force me out. I cannot imagine what life is like for those who have less privilege than I enjoy.
Recent reforms to mortgage-insurance regulations announced last week by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will likely only add fuel to Toronto’s overheated rental market, Mr. Hildebrand said.
He estimates that the typical buyer will need to earn $86,000 a year to afford a condo under stricter mortgage qualification rules that kick in on Monday, a 17 per cent increase from $73,000 under the existing laws. That will push some prospective buyers into the rental market instead.
New regulations effective Nov. 30 will prohibit mortgages on investment properties from being covered by government-backed insurance, which could make financial institutions less willing to lend to condo investors.
Combined, the changes are likely to drive up demand for rental units while shrinking the supply of new rental investors, Mr. Hildebrand said. “It sort of seems to be to be the wrong time to be doing this,” he said. “Even before the changes come into effect, we’re seeing the lowest level of supply in the rental market that we’ve seen in years.”
Now people can be priced out of renting, in addition to owning. A real victory for all city-bound Torontonians.
But Tal says the one place the rule changes will be felt is the Toronto condo market, where sale prices are below $1 million a property and deals often involve first-time buyers with down payments of less than 20 per cent.
“That’s exactly where the target is,” Tal said.
Shaun Hildebrand, senior vice-president of real estate market research firm Urban Nation, agrees with Tal.
“If there is a beneficiary to these policies, it will be the condo market, whether it’s on the for-sale side where buyers are forced into lower price points or on the rental side, as well, as fewer first-time buyers are getting into the marketplace,” Hildebrand said.
While I tend to agree that moving people towards a long-term rental market is important and not an inherently bad thing (in fact, that culture is prevalent in other housing markets), it does demand affordable rental properties. So: will the slowdown in the condo market actually reduce costs of condos due to competition, and lead to a lower rental rate for them on the basis that landlords will not have to recoup the same investment, or will rents remain where they are (and rise) so that wealthy landlords can extract further rents from their tenants?