GuelphToday asked the candidates running for the four major parties in Guelph a series of questions about the upcoming election. Their answers will run nightly over the next two weeks. Responses were limited to 250 words.
Tonight's question: 'What should be done to help young people buy their first home?'
Raechelle Devereaux, Liberal:
Home ownership is a goal that remains out of reach for many young Ontarians. An Ontario Liberal Government will add more housing supply to cool demand, doubling the pace of homebuilding. We’ll do that by creating a new Ontario Home Building Corporation (OHBC) to finance and build new, affordable homes of all types, either as a primary financing source or builder.
Any homes sold by the OHBC will be available only to people who are first-time home buyers, and any proceeds will go directly back into creating more affordable homes. The OHBC will have a 15-year mandate to make sure housing is built rapidly, cooling the housing market and ending the wait list for affordable public housing.
All homebuyers would also be protected through a number of initiatives including a reformed bidding process, establishing home inspection as a legal right, and increasing penalties for unethical real estate transactions.
James Parr, NDP:
I am one of those young people hoping to purchase a home in Guelph, although that seems more and more like a pipe dream every day.
At its root, we need to tackle the fact that housing is increasingly being seen as an investment rather than a human right. Introducing a speculation tax will go a long way in stabilizing housing prices.
Addressing the cost of living and improving affordability will also help young people be able to save up and afford their first home.
Mike Schreiner, Green Party:
A whole generation of young people are giving up hope of ever owning a home, including my daughters. Rampant speculation, a lack of supply, and untransparent practices in the purchasing process like blind bidding means bidding wars are the norm. This further hikes up the price of homes while driving a fear of missing out on a home purchase, forcing first-time homebuyers to make rapid-fire, rushed offers without important steps like home inspections.
These conditions are making it increasingly stressful and less affordable for families and individuals trying to purchase their first home.
The current home-buying market in Ontario favours wealthy speculators and corporations over families looking for a place to call home in the communities they know and love, like Guelph.
Ontarians trying to buy their first home shouldn’t have to compete with deep-pocketed corporations. In order to level the playing field for first time home buyers we need to:
● Increase housing supply by building 1.5 million homes within urban boundaries over the next decade.
● End blind bidding, to make the bidding process more transparent and bring down the skyrocketing price of houses.
● Make home inspections mandatory at the seller’s expense to save save new homeowners tens of thousands of dollars in possible repairs, provide transparency and increase consumer protection.
● Implement a province-wide multiple homes speculation tax and vacant home tax to reduce rampant speculative demand in the housing market and free-up homes for first-time buyers.
I’ll keep leading on solutions that will give our young people some hope.
Peter McSherry, Progressive Conservative: No response.