Quebec has no near-term plans for foreign-buyer tax; open to idea: finance minister

Quebec has no near-term plans for foreign-buyer tax; open to idea: finance minister

MONTREAL — Quebec’s finance minister says he has no near-term plans to introduce a foreign buyer’s tax but is open to the idea if one is needed.

Carlos Leitao says his department is closely monitoring whether a planned tax in the Greater Toronto Area will have a large spillover effect on Montreal housing prices. British Columbia implemented a similar tax in Vancouver last year.

However, he said the current number of foreign buyers in Montreal is “relatively marginal” and that forecasts for a five to six per cent growth in prices this year signal a healthy, balanced market.

The former bank economist says it’s wrong to blame foreign buyers for soaring prices in Canada’s two most expensive real estate markets — Toronto and Vancouver — when buying was led mostly by domestic players.

A possible housing price correction in Toronto could have a spillover effect on Quebec’s economy, but shouldn’t hurt the real estate markets in Montreal or Quebec City, Leitao added.

He says housing in Quebec remains affordable even if prices grow above historic levels.

The Canadian Press

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