How Doug Ford’s tax plan could bring back a housing bubble
Election season is the time for politicians to throw out outlandish proposals to see what sticks. So it’s not entirely surprising that Ontario PC leader Doug Ford mused recently about abolishing the 15 per cent non-resident buyer tax on real estate, which was introduced last year by the Liberal government. But not only is such a move likely to win little popular support, it could also start re-inflating a housing bubble that policymakers have struggled to control.
“I just don’t like the government getting involved,” Ford told the Globe and Mail. “I believe in the market dictating. The market, no matter whether it’s the stock market or anything, it will always take care of itself—supply and demand.”
It’s a puzzling statement. “How that can possibly be a top priority, especially given very compelling evidence that said tax played a huge role in deflating the Toronto housing bubble in the past year, is a mystery,” wrote BMO chief economist Doug Porter in a recent note to clients. Well, perhaps not that mysterious. Ford does have a habit of speaking first and thinking later. Plus, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is faring so badly in the polls that knee-jerk opposition to her policies might be considered a safe bet.