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Published on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Oakville mayor calls for report on vacant real estate

Census reports thousands of homes vacant, mayor notes

Oakville mayor calls for report on vacant real estate
Mayor Rob Burton
Mayor says each vacant home diminishes the light of life in a neighbourhood
By Marta Marychuk, Oakville Beaver
With the cost of housing skyrocketing in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) - Oakville Mayor Rob Burton has called for Halton regional staff to investigate and report back on vacant residential real estate in Halton.

There is growing concern in Oakville that homes are being bought and left vacant, Burton told fellow councillors, during a March 29 meeting of Halton Regional Council.

The assumption is that these homes are being purchased as an investment, Burton added. “Maybe it is a problem. I’m not sure.”

According to Burton, 5,000 homes in Halton region are vacant. In Oakville, there are 2,400 vacant homes; 1,200 vacant homes in Burlington; and, another 1,300 vacant homes in Milton. The remaining vacant homes (337) are in Halton Hills.

Burton says he’s seen some cases in Oakville where a home has increased in price by 67 per cent, over a two-year-period.

“If you’re concerned about future generations … this is troubling,” added Burton.

“The Real Estate Board does not collect information on buyers or whether properties are being purchased for investment purposes,” said Dennis Horton, 2017 President of The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board, in a statement to the Oakville Beaver.

“So far there is no indication that housing prices are being driven up by foreign buyers. The main culprit behind rapidly rising home prices is the lack of housing supply that is not able to meet demand. Halton continues to be a highly desirable area for home owners in the GTA to live and work, and that is why we need to address the lack of supply,” the statement added.

In the meantime, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has announced that the province plans to include measures to make housing more affordable in the upcoming spring budget.

Sousa has not yet announced a date for the budget – although it is expected in a few weeks.

Speculative investing in real estate, buying a home with the intent of making a profit, rather than buy home as a place to live, is being reported in the media as one of the reasons behind skyrocketing home prices.

Sousa has also asked federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau for changes to taxes on capital gains on the sale of homes that aren’t a primary residence, to stop speculative investing.

“The province and federal government are talking, but we haven’t been invited to the table,” added Oakville Councillor Tom Adams. The 905-area-code suburbs have been excluded. “Maybe we can ask again.”
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Property Tax , Growth , Halton Regional Municipality , Oakville Town Council

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