What federal leaders plan for housing
Within days of Canada’s real estate community calling for changes to how the federal government restricts housing demand, political leaders vying to lead the country outlined how they plan to act on the housing file.
With a federal election on October 21, the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Realtors Association of Edmonton, the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, and the Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver real estate boards have all urged the federal political parties to commit to help remove homebuyer barriers and reduce the cost of home ownership.
In these early days of the campaign, party leaders have made several pledges:
- A Liberal government would change the rules to allow people to dip into their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) more than once to buy a home. It would also increase the price ceiling under the new First Time Home Buyer Incentive from $480,000 to $789,000 in expensive markets such as Metro Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area. The Liberals would also impose a national 1 per cent of value tax on foreign buyers of Canadian homes.
- A Conservative government would raise to $35,000 the amount a first-time homebuyer could withdraw tax free from RRSPs for a home purchase. It would also create a “permanent” renovation tax credit of $5,000.
- An NDP government would spend $200 million over four years to help retrofit thousands of homes to be more energy-efficient. It would also build 500,000 affordable housing units across Canada within the next decade. Singh said the NDP would double the first-time home buyers’ tax credit to $1,500 from $750.
- A Green government would implement a national housing strategy to increase funding for co-operative housing; retrofit all homes in Canada by 2030 to increase energy efficiency; ensure that a percentage of all new housing units built are reserved for affordable housing; increase access to social housing by First Nations on- and off-reserve; and implement a guaranteed income to help low-income Canadians and youth buy homes.