The Number Of Owners With Multiple Properties Is Increasing In Toronto. Here’s Why!

News, Real Estate

Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design in Toronto, Ontario, Canada!

As a realtor with 30 years of experience guiding Buyers and Sellers of Toronto real estate, I’m afforded a unique view of the dynamics of the Toronto property market, including the reasons and motivations for why people are active in real estate at any given time.

The imbalance between the supply and demand for Toronto real estate has been growing for decades, and the pejorative effect it’s having on affordability continues to dominate housing headlines. The most recent stats from TRREB reveal a record-breaking pace in price appreciation; home prices climbed a record-breaking 22 percent in November, with the average home price reaching $1.16 million as the scarcity of listings continues to send prices soaring.

One critical reason for this imbalance is that the Buyer pool continues to expand for Toronto real estate, creating extra hurdles for homebuyers attempting to get onto or move up the property ladder. Once upon a time the supply of property in the Greater Toronto Area only had to serve local demand, but now this limited supply is being pursued by a Buyer pool who may be situated anywhere around the globe. And to elevate the complexity of the real estate market, this expanding Buyer pool each has their different interests and motivations influencing how they assess and value real estate.

As I’ve written before, right now these include but are not limited to, the flow of global capital, real and stress test interest rates, and the effects of quantitative easing as it’s fueled our asset-based economy; our current and anticipated government policies that foster and tax homeownership and capital gains, foreign buyer and local investment or speculation; the opportunities and constraints of the property type itself based on its location, size, condition, zoning and highest and best use within the current supply and demand framework; the expectations of the Seller based on necessity, motivation, and personal attachment; in addition to the desire of the informed prospective Buyer pool shaped by the limitations of their income, down payment, and potential future earnings or inheritance.

Plus, we’re also operating with a bit of a wild card in the form of a global pandemic with emerging variants that, both unexpected and unanticipated, present a heightened level of unpredictability to our real estate market.



Changing Toronto Property Buyer Profiles

In the ‘old days’, first-time homebuyers comprised the biggest demographic of homebuyers – which makes sense when you consider the traditional model of the ‘property ladder’. However, more recently, data shows that investors – meaning people holding the deed to multiple properties – have overtaken that segment.

This brings forth an interesting debate, revolving around the question, ‘In an extremely tight market, where supply is so scarce, how does a city, province, or country balance permitting private citizens the opportunity to invest and accumulate wealth freely through real estate, while providing the social, economic, and physical benefits of homeownership to all? We’ve certainly seen this addressed by regulation in British Columbia and Ontario, as I wrote in Shades Of Duplicity In The Foreign Buyer Tax For Canadian Housing.

There are a number of factors creating an uneven playing field in a competitive housing market, but it’s really about how many individuals, families (as in generational wealth), investment groups, numbered companies, and financial corporations with access to capital are competing for property that can outbid or assume greater risk than the Canadian first-time Buyer. The result? Those hoping to access the market are growing discouraged, as explained in this Toronto Star article: “More Than Half Of Young Potential Buyers In Toronto Have Given Up On Ever Owning A Home, Survey Finds”.

It’s just one of the dilemmas of the financialization of housing, which I explored in this post The Growing Trend Of Financial Landlords In Toronto Real Estate. While owners with multiple properties rarely have the deep pockets of investment corporations (like REITS and pension funds), they often have accumulated wealth from the increasing equity of their existing real estate assets that they access through refinancing and HELOC’s to secure additional properties. This effectively shuts those Buyers with less access to capital and mortgage debt while inflating the property market.

Although owners with multiple properties can be highly leveraged as they grow their real estate investment portfolio, meaning they may be vulnerable to changing market conditions such as if interest rates rise or the property market corrects,  they’re likely in better-equity positions than most first-time Buyers, in particular those who are relying on mortgage insurance because their down payments are 20% or less.

And while investors building their portfolios are removing potential housing stock for purchase by other markets, making homeownership that much more difficult, this shift towards multiple property ownership often translates into increasing rental stock – which is also in short supply.

Furthermore, from the real estate trenches – as I like to call the lens by which I see the market – I think it’s important to clarify that who is considered an ‘investor’ is not just Buyers adding a property to their investment property portfolio, but it can also include Buyers who have other reasons for purchasing another property beyond their principal residence. Today, owning multiple properties may be a means to shelter ageing parents, or to assist one’s adult children onto the property ladder, and Canada has witnessed a boom in the second home market due in part to telework becoming more prevalent during the pandemic. We’ve even seen Torontonians purchase small condos downtown that they subsequently set up as a Work From Home Office because their existing residences were too crowded and noisy to focus with their laughing barking brood home 24/7/365.



A Movement Gathering Speed

According to the Teranet study referred to in this Toronto Star article, “This Investor Owns 17 Homes. He And Other Multiple Property Owners Are Now The Largest Slice Of Toronto Homebuyers” multiple property owners have recently moved past first-time homebuyers with 29 percent making up the Buyer pool. Meanwhile, Equifax has documented a surge in people holding three or more mortgages across the country, with a rise of 7.7 percent from 2020 to 2021.

This Toronto Life article, “How A 32-year-Old Managed To Accumulate 10 Homes In Toronto”,  tells the story of how a young man, who had immigrated to Canada as a student, dove into the Toronto real estate market at 24 years old, by partnering with his uncle; he lived in the basement, and they rented out the upper portion of the home. He accumulated numerous properties over the years, tapping into the equity in his existing properties while taking advantage of the rising market to make a tidy profit.

This Blog TO article, “Nearly 1 in 5 Toronto Homeowners Own At least Two Residential Properties“, draws light to the fact that while 1 in 5 homeowners in Toronto owns more than one residential property, according to the latest census figures, just over 33 percent of Torontonians don’t own a home at all. Certainly, there are those who choose not to own a home, but a growing proportion of hopeful dwell hunters are being shut out of the market by rising prices. Here’s the link to my post –> Dear Urbaneer: Will I Ever Be Able To Afford A Home In Toronto?.

It goes without saying it’s a lot easier to buy property when you’ve already amassed some capital – either by prior real estate purchases or by other means. I’ve long advised the younger generations that the hardest part of getting into the market is right at the beginning – when saving the funds through RRSP contributions which you then ‘borrow back interest-free’ for your first property purchase –> here’s my post Dear Urbaneer: Should I Use My RRSP As A Down Payment?. And I genuinely know it’s more difficult than ever. Like painfully challenging when you don’t have the help of the Bank of Mom and Dad, which I was writing about 8 years ago. This recent study from the National Bank shows that it takes the average person 58 months to gather enough cash for a down payment on a condo in Toronto, and 330 months for a house.



Investors In The City Of Toronto Comprise 30% Of Purchases In 2021 

How big do investors play in the Toronto Real Estate market? According to Better Dwelling – “Over A Quarter Of Toronto Real Estate Is Bought By Investors With Multiple Properties” – 25 percent of residential purchases in Ontario in 2021 were by investors with multiple properties which represents a 50 percent increase over the last decade, with the City of Toronto outpacing the province in the multiple buyer metric, with 30 percent of purchases going to that segment.

An article entitled “Nearly 20% of GTA Homeowners Under 35 Own More Than One Property” supports the notion that homeowners with multiple properties are putting their housing stock into the rental pool. According to this article, 64 percent of multiple property owners rent their second homes, with almost half saying they are rented full time. Only 7 percent leave them vacant, which could be as much a function of what or where the dwelling is located, or because the owner visits it regularly enough that renting it is not feasible.



An Impending Vacancy Tax

There is a vacancy tax in Toronto coming in 2022 that has been developed through consultation with the public.

The intent of the tax is to discourage homeowners from leaving their property vacant and to contribute their homes for much-needed supply. Starting in 2022, homeowners will be required to declare the status of their properties. For those who declare their homes vacant (unoccupied for 30 or more consecutive days in six months in a calendar year when it is not the principal residence of the owner), the vacancy the tax may be one percent of the assessed value – which could be a significant sum. There will be exemptions allowed, for example, by snowbirds, if a dwelling is undergoing renovations, or to allow a grace period if the owner has passed away, etc.

The City of Toronto estimates that this will generate an additional $55 to $66 million in revenue. And while this is intended to help with supply, many feel that this doesn’t go far enough- and that they will have to track this accurately to see if it makes a difference.

Vancouver, which suffers under a similar (but worse) affordability strain, launched a Vacant Homes Tax in 2017 which reduced the vacant number of homes by 25 percent and since its introduction has generated $231 million in revenue while adding 18,000 rental units to the supply pool.

There are conflicting views though on what impact this tax has had beyond adding units, especially in terms of overall housing affordability and keeping prices from skyrocketing, which most agree needs to come from the vast creation of new supply. Here’s an interesting article, “Three Years In, Has B.C.’s Speculation And Vacancy Tax Made A Difference?“.

There is a call on all levels of government to create policies that favour affordability through the creation of more supply. Certainly, after the federal government played such an active role in the 50s through 70s in creating affordable housing, politicians and their constituents should mandate purpose-built developments instead of supporting policies that “artificially suppress” demand for market housing.


Taxing Canadian Property Investors Is Imminent On The Federal Level

There has been a lot of chatter about the Federal Government increasing the Capital Gains Tax from 50% to 75% this coming year, and just five days ago Better Dwelling posted The Canadian Government Just Put Real Estate Investors In Its Crosshairs while nine days ago Global News shared Trudeau Eyes End To Blind Bidding. The headlines are the result of mandate letters that the newly re-elected Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) distributed to its ministers’ outlining the scope of work and objectives moving forward. Minister Ahmed Hussen has been directed to curb financial gains, discourage speculation, and limit debt leverage. The Better Dwelling post provides an excellent overview on how this may occur, including changes to The Income Tax Act requiring property investors to disclose earnings pre and post renovations to curb ‘renovictions’, adding an Anti-Flipping Tax to those who flip properties within 12 months (which, incidentally, is a really short window of time given most flippers of Toronto real estate take much longer given how obsolete much of our existing downtown housing stock is pre-transformation), and reviewing how REITs – a type of real estate investment trust that can be publically traded as a shelter stock – may be better regulated (ie. taxed). I, personally, as I wrote in The Growing Trend Of Financial Landlords In Toronto Real Estate find it one of the more alarming shifts in Toronto’s housing market, in particular, because it has grave impact on Tenants.

It also appears the federal government is recognizing that The Implications Of Moving Toward An Asset-Based Economy is far from ideal because the flow of capital into the shelter economy has diverted it from Canada’s ability to generate wealth through productive investment. In fact, Better Dwelling recently reported that for the first time since the early 1960s National Bank of Canada found that Canadians now invest more in homes than businesses, which has translated into a reduction in job creation and Canada having the lowest GDP growth in the OECD. How might the government address this? By re-examining the lending policies of Canada’s financial institutions such as restricting the ease and amount of capital property investors can access and/or increasing the cash required to purchase a property that won’t be used as a principal residence.

The takeaway? Anticipate more government interventions to try cool our market.


In a forthcoming blog, I’m going to explore, how over the past 50 years the Canadian government has changed its position as the country’s leader in actively creating much-needed shelter for its citizens that – over a span of 5 decades – removed itself as the largest direct participant in building affordable housing to instead replace it with a focus on policy intervention to regulate the broader free property market. Unfortunately, governments don’t build much housing anymore. Instead, they dictate and regulate how new and existing shelter is used and by whom. I’m only observing this. It’s just the way it is at this moment in time, albeit I’m intrigued (and a little concerned) on what direction government and the free market will veer on the path ahead!

As always, the Urbaneer Team continues to monitor Toronto’s housing market in order to bring you the latest news, trends, and unique insights that come from being active participants. Our extensive first-hand experience and data-driven strategies are available to ensure your success, so please know we welcome your questions, offer our guidance, and are keen to assist you, and yours, in navigating our increasingly complex Toronto real estate market!



Here are some additional posts related to the Canadian Housing Crisis:

–> Shades Of Duplicity In The Foreign Buyer Tax For Canadian Housing

–> The Growing Trend Of Financial Landlords In Toronto Real Estate

–> The Role Of Fiscal Stimulus During COVID-19 And Toronto Real Estate

–> The Affordability Conundrum For Toronto House Buyers: Location, Condition & Costs

–> Dear Urbaneer: Why Are There Bidding Wars For Toronto Real Estate During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

–> Dear Urbaneer: So Why Are There New Airbnb Regulations For Toronto?

–> ‘PUSH’: A Documentary On Rising Real Estate Prices

–> The Other Side Of Rent Control And Toronto Real Estate

–> Why Does Homeownership Remain A Priority For Canadians, Despite The High Costs?

–> With 65,000 Vacant Units, Will A Vacancy Tax Be Helpful To Toronto Real Estate?

–> 7 Reasons Why Toronto Real Estate Prices Have Skyrocketed Over The Past Decade (posted in 2017)

–> Foreign Buyers, Property Prices, And Toronto Real Estate

–> Foreign Buyers, Inadequate Policy, And Canadian Real Estate



With decades of experience navigating the ever-changing Toronto real estate market, a commitment to promote the sale of properties like yours with interesting and relevant information, and the ability to guide Buyers with credible insights and well-informed guidance, we are here to help without pressure or hassle.

My team and I are here to help!



With decades of experience navigating the ever-changing Toronto real estate market, a commitment to promote the sale of properties like yours with interesting and relevant information, and the ability to guide Buyers with credible insights and well-informed guidance, we are here to help without pressure or hassle.

Please consider our services!


Thanks for reading!

-The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000

– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –

Celebrating Thirty Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor


*Did you know we were recently listed as one of The Top 25 Toronto Real Estate Agents To Follow On Twitter! – The Top 50 Blogs On Toronto – and The Top 100 Real Estate Blogs In Canada? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly e-newsletter on housing, culture and design including our love for unique urban homes and other Toronto real estate!

*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s University Student Mentorship site called which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, products and real estate in Canada.

Previous Post
Easy-Breezy Outdoor Holiday Sparkle!
Next Post
Urbaneer’s December 2021 E-Promo