House Hunting in ... Toronto

By Anonymous

House Hunting in ... Toronto

Front and back staircases lead to the lower level, which has a two dens, a powder room, a home office, a bedroom with an en-suite bath, a workshop and a dog-washing station. Glass doors open to an ivy-draped walled terrace.

There is also a garage with a one-bedroom apartment upstairs.

Oakville, which has nearly 200,000 residents, has a lakefront walking path, two harbors, restaurants, museums, art galleries, boutiques, a square used for tree lighting at Christmas and a piazza. Downtown Toronto is 25 miles away, or about a 30-minute drive.

Until April 20, when the province of Ontario implemented the Fair Housing Plan with a new 15 percent Nonresident Speculation Tax on single-family homes, “the housing market was gangbusters,” said Steven Green, a sales representative at Royal LePage Partners Realty.

With 30 percent growth in a single year, the lack of supply was creating unsustainable demand with “multiple offers and bidding wars,” Ms. Irish said, which was partly driven “by an international buying spree.”

The tax on foreign buyers was “designed to cool the market,” she added, and was “part of a plan to make homes more affordable” and available, particularly for young families. When it took effect, she said, the market “went from incredibly hot to tepid,” with would-be buyers sitting on the sidelines “watching the market move in their direction. It is turning into a much more balanced market.”

Last month, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, residential sales were down by more than 40 percent over a year earlier, while the number of new listings increased by more than 5 percent. The average selling price was up 5 percent, to 746,218 Canadian dollars, or about $588,479.

The market for new condominiums, however, “has shown no slowdown,” said Elliott Taube, president of the Toronto-based International Home Marketing Group. “Prices have continued to escalate,” he said, ranging from 650 to 1,100 Canadian dollars a square foot, or about $513 to $867.

The 660 units in the two new 46-story Nobu towers sold out in 30 days, Mr. Taube said, except for 30 three-bedrooms and penthouses that will be made available during the Toronto International Film Festival next month. “The skyline is constantly evolving in our city,” Mr. Taube said. “I see Toronto Manhattan-izing more than ever.”

The tallest new towers are 80 to 90 stories, while the majority of new projects in Toronto’s core are 45 to 50 floors, with the highest density surrounding the subway lines.

The Ontario and Toronto markets are “heavily investor-driven,” Mr. Taube said, with investors — most with Canadian passports — “looking for capital appreciation and for a return in the rental pool when it is done.”

Most buyers come from China, sometimes by way of Vancouver, British Columbia, with a smaller portion from Iran and Korea, Mr. Green said.

Ms. Irish said she has seen a large contingent of buyers from India and Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, as well as an uptick in American buyers since the 2016 election.

Drawn by “the favorable exchange rate,” Mr. Green said, buyers from New York and Connecticut buy condominiums close to shops and restaurants in the Yorkville neighborhood and the downtown entertainment district, as well as cottages in Muskoka, a picturesque area in central Ontario. “A lot of the movie stars have cottages there,” he said. “It is like the Hamptons, but better.”

In Toronto proper, buyers pay a land transfer tax of about 2 percent, plus a 2 percent tax to the Province of Ontario. “One of the reasons people like to buy in Oakville is to avoid the 2 percent Toronto tax,” Ms. Irish said.

Because international buyers must put 35 percent down to secure a mortgage, “most foreign buyers pay cash,” Mr. Green said. Mortgage interest is not deductible.

Legal fees run from 1,000 to 3,000 Canadian dollars, or $789 to $2,366, depending on the lawyer, whether a mortgage is involved, and the complexity and value of the deal.

The annual taxes on this property are 29,086 Canadian dollars, or about $23,000.