Owning a home is part of the Canadian dream. There is a sense of pride in purchasing your first home where you will establish roots and bring up a family, just like our parents did. With the lack of housing supply and escalating home prices, it has made in impossible for first-time buyers and young families to purchase.
The Ontario Real Estate Association recently announced that, “nearly half of prospective home buyers under 45 have considered or are considering moving out of Ontario due to housing affordability.”
During the recent Federal Election all three major federal parties – the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservation Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party tabled different methods to address Canada’s housing affordability crisis. Collectively, this is a positive message because all parties are in agreement on this issue and prepared to take immediate action.
As a Real Estate Broker, I experience first-hand the impact rising home prices and the shortage of available homes have on everyone in our community. Inventory and listings are at historic lows and demand is showing no signs of slowing down. Action from all levels of government is clearly needed. There is simply not enough housing supply to meet demand, which directly leads to situations with multiple offers and inevitably higher home prices. The current landscape of bidding wars in the housing market has created a national affordability crisis.
The following are a couple of platforms voiced from federal political leaders during the election campaign:
• Supply of new homes is paramount. When it comes to increasing housing supply, all three parties have promised to build more homes and all three have a plan to re-purpose under utilized federal properties. As well, convert empty offices spaces into housing with $300 Million in new funding. These ideas alone would create new housing jobs and encourage further development.
• Reduce monthly mortgage costs by reducing the price charged by CMHC on mortgage insurance by 25%. This could result in an average of $6,100 savings for a mortgage holder.
• Coming up with a down payment is one of the biggest barriers for homebuyers. An idea shared by both Liberal and NDP governments is 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 to give Canadians the option of a deferred mortgage loan as an alternative to the current share equity. In essence, double the FTHB Tax Credit.
• Re-introduce 30 year mortgage terms on CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for FTHB.
I know we all look forward to seeing decisions being made, passed and implemented – sooner rather than later!
Karen Kessel is the Broker of Record at Planet Realty Inc., a full-service brokerage in Guelph. For more information, visit planetrealty.ca.