Ottawa wants meeting with provincial, city officials to discuss Toronto's soaring real estate prices

Citing concerns about affordability in Canada's hottest real estate market, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau calls for a meeting with Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Letter from Morneau raises concerns about affordability and stability of country's largest real-estate market

Toronto Mayor John Tory, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa are expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss Toronto's surging real-estate market. (CBC: Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Citing concerns about affordability in Canada's hottest housing market, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has called for a meeting with Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory.  

Tory's office confirmed on Thursday that the request for a meeting was made, and said "we expect the date to be set soon."

In a letter sent to Sousa, Morneau raises concerns about Canadians' rising debt levels. He's also worried that home ownership will become out of reach for all but the wealthy. 

"Middle-class Canadians have become increasingly worried about being able to afford a home for their families," he writes. 

Morneau's letter also says rapid price increases will have "long-term implications for housing ability and housing market stability."

"I believe we must take a closer look at these evolving market conditions and take stock of its implications for our largest urban area."

His letter calls for a meeting with all three levels of government "so we can collectively make progress to ensure that housing in the GTA is both affordable and accessible for the long term."

Toronto home prices continued to rise at a breakneck pace last month, according to the latest data from the city's real estate board. 

The average selling price for all properties in the Greater Toronto Area jumped by 33.2 per cent from $688,011 in March 2016 to $916,567 last month, the Toronto Real Estate Board said Wednesday.

Politicians, particularly in Ontario, have been under growing pressure to do something about housing prices that have far outpaced fundamentals such as wage growth.

Sousa has indicated there will be measures in the upcoming budget to address the housing market.


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