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‘Supply only answer to housing crisis’

June 24, 2021

Lori Mathison, president and CEO of CPABC

In separate reports, an organization of top chartered accountants and one of Canada’s leading financial firms say that increasing the supply of new homes is the key to housing affordability.
“Three quarters of Canadians who want to buy a home can’t afford one,” Manulife Canada concluded in an annual survey released June 16. The survey called the current situation a “crisis.”
“Housing prices have hit an all-time high and are rising in all corners of the country with no end in sight, making home ownership increasingly difficult for many Canadians,” noted Manulife Bank president and CEO Rick Lunny.
In its 11th annual Canada Debt Survey, Manulife Bank placed housing as the major economic concern for young Canadians.
“Looking to the next generation, 85 per cent of those who have young children are worried about the future affordability of real-estate, when their children are ready for home ownership. It is also noteworthy that 51 per cent of Canadians with mortgages worry about making their mortgage payments and one-third of homeowners admit they needed help from their parents when purchasing their first home, a figure which includes nearly half of all Gen Z and Millennials homeowners,” the survey stated.
Survey findings concluded that increasing the standing inventory of homes was the best method of meeting housing demand and keeping home price increases in check.
Also on June 16, the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), in its annual BC Check-Up Report,said B.C. is on the frontline of the housing crisis and that increasing supply, quickly, is the key solution.
B.C.’s housing supply remains tight despite rising demand, the CPABC noted.
From 2010 to 2020, B.C.’s population increased by 737,206 while only 316,510 units were added, it notes.
In 2020, just 39,000 housing units were built, up 3 per cent from 2019, according to CBABC.
In April 2021, the average house sold across B.C. cost $943,845, up by $210,000 compared to April 2020, its report stated. Yet B.C. residential building permits plunged 23 per cent in April 2021, compared to a month earlier, Statistics Canada reports. Overall declines in permit values were concentrated in two of the most expensive housing markets: Metro Vancouver (down 28.9 per cent) and Abbotsford-Mission (down 62.4 per cent). 
Lori Mathison, president and CEO of CPABC said the housing shortage could reach critical levels as travel restrictions end and immigration returns to post-pandemic levels.
“It is critical to encourage greater housing development in order for homes to be more affordable and accessible,” said Mathison.


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