Post-election, now the real work to address Canada's housing challenges begins

By Wayne Karl
October 01, 2021

So, Justin Trudeau has again been elected Prime Minister of Canada in a Liberal minority government.

Is this a good thing? Focusing on housing, the answer might be yes.

“Ideas on how to fix the housing market have taken centre stage in this election, with many long-simmering issues having had a big spotlight shone on them over the last year-and-a-half by COVID,” Cliff Stevenson, chair of Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), said just prior to the election.

Band-aid solutions

One of the country’s largest realty firms, ReMax Canada, is calling for the Liberals to lead a collaborative national housing strategy, across all levels of government. “The leading party platforms reveal proposals and promises that echo the band-aid ‘solutions’ of the past, aimed at controlling the market as opposed to getting to the root of the problem. Unfortunately, short of adding substantial supply to the market, Canadian housing affordability will continue to deteriorate.”

A recent Leger survey commissioned by ReMax, by the way, revealed that 85 per cent of Canadians believe there is a housing affordability crisis.


2021 federal election shines light on housing affordability

Housing an important election issue in 2021

And in the context of the GTA, the Building Industry and Land Development Association has been one of the most consistent voices in calling for action. “We are encouraged to see that the issues of housing supply and affordability are prominent in the lead-up to the federal election – as they must be in elections at every level if we are to build the housing people in our region need, at prices they can afford,” BILD President and CEO Dave Wilkes said before the election. “What we need is an alignment of federal, provincial and municipal housing policy on market-rate housing.”

Trudeau and the Liberals cannot ignore these voices or these facts.

Will they deliver?

Their 2021 platform, if you need a refresher, promised to build, preserve or repair 1.4 million homes over four years; convert empty office spaces into housing with $300 million in new funding; create the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit to support secondary suites in homes; create a Housing Accelerator Fund worth $4 billion to help cities build homes faster.

For first-time buyers, the Liberals also promised to introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account to allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 for a home; make the First-Time Home Buyer (FTHB) incentive more flexible as an alternative to the current shared equity model; and double the FTHB Tax Credit.

And to further address housing affordability, the Liberals promised to reduce monthly mortgage costs by cutting CMHC mortgage insurance costs by 25 per cent.

Is this all enough? And will they deliver?

Now is when the real work begins.

About Wayne Karl

Wayne Karl is an award-winning writer and editor with experience in real estate and business. Wayne explores the basics – such as economic fundamentals – you need to examine when buying property.

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