As the federal election campaign chugs on, parties have rolled out their platforms.
It’s no surprise one of the most pressing issues of the campaign trail is housing.
We know a lack of housing supply is putting homeownership out of reach for many Canadians and we’ve developed our own #REALideas to help address housing affordability and supply.
Canadians shouldn’t have to give up their goal of homeownership because there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand of buyers. All levels of government need to work together to ensure homeownership doesn’t slip out of reach.
This election is our opportunity to advocate for policies and solutions we know will make a real difference for Canadians. Visit REALideas.ca, where you can learn more about our REALTOR® recommendations.
Party platforms and commitments
Here’s what we know about each party’s policy ideas relating to home buying in Canada.
Committing $1 billion in loans and grants to develop and scale up rent-to-own projects with private, not-for-profit, and co-op partners, creating a pathway to homeownership for renters in five years or less.
- Introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account, which will allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home and withdraw it tax-free to put toward their purchase.
- Give Canadians the option of a deferred mortgage loan as an alternative to the current shared equity model and reduce their monthly mortgage costs.
- Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, from $5,000 to $10,000.
- Reduce the price charged by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on mortgage insurance by 25%.
- Build, preserve, or repair 1.4 million homes in the next four years.
- Create a Housing Accelerator Fund, which will make $4 billion available to challenge the country’s largest cities to accelerate their housing plans, creating a target of 100,000 new middle-class homes by 2024-25.
- Permanently increase funding to the National Housing Co-investment fund for a total of $2.7 billion over four years.
- Introduce the Multigenerational Home Renovation tax credit to support families looking to add a secondary unit to their homes to allow a family member to live with them.
- Co-develop a housing strategy with Indigenous partners and creating a National Indigenous Housing Centre.
- End chronic homelessness by supporting communities in delivering locally oriented homelessness prevention and reduction programs.
- Introduce a Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights that will ban blind bidding, establish a legal right to home inspection, ensure total price transparency on the history of recent house sale prices, require real estate agents to disclose all participation in transactions when they are involved in both sides of a potential sale, and ensure banks offer mortgage deferrals for up to 6 months in the event of major life events.
- Stop ‘renovictions’ by deterring unfair rent increases that fall outside of a normal charge in rent.
- Place an anti-flipping tax on residential properties requiring properties to be held for at least 12 months.
- Ban new foreign ownership.
- Review tax treatment of large corporate owners and speculators trying to amass large portfolios of Canadian rental housing and putting in place policies to curb excessive profits.
- Establish the Canadian Financial Crimes Agency to investigate and combat all forms of major financial crime, including money laundering in the housing market.
Build public transit infrastructure that connects homes and jobs by bringing public transit to where people are buying homes; and require municipalities receiving federal funding for public transit to increase density near the funded transit.
- Review the real estate portfolio of the federal government – the largest property owner in the country with more than 37,000 buildings – and release at least 15% for housing while improving the Federal Lands Initiative.
- Encourage a new market in seven- to ten-year mortgages to provide stability both for first-time home buyers and lenders, opening another secure path to homeownership for Canadians, and reducing the need for mortgage stress tests.
- Remove the requirement to conduct a stress test when a homeowner renews a mortgage with another lender instead of only when staying with their current lender, as is the case today.
- Increase the limit on eligibility for mortgage insurance and index it to home price inflation, allowing those in high-priced real estate markets with less than a 20% down-payment an opportunity at homeownership.
- No capital gains tax on the sale of Canadians’ principal residence.
- Implement a strategy to combat homelessness among veterans and explore the potential for using surplus military housing to provide housing for homeless veterans.
- Ban foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes for a two-year period (after which it will be reviewed).
- Encourage foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing that is affordable to Canadians.
- Implement comprehensive changes to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, and give FINTRAC, law enforcement, and prosecutors the tools necessary to identify, halt, and prosecute money-laundering in Canadian real estate markets
- Establish a federal Beneficial Ownership Registry for residential property.
- Enact a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing strategy that will empower Indigenous Peoples with the autonomy to meet their own housing needs.
Create at least 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next 10 years, with half done within five years.
- Spur the construction of affordable homes by waiving the federal portion of GST/HST on new rental units.
- Reintroduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers, which will allow for smaller monthly payments.
- Double the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500 to help with closing costs.
- Add a 20% Foreign Buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to individuals who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- Create more social housing. Fast-track the purchase, lease and conversion of hotels and motels for emergency housing relief until permanent, community-based solutions are available.
- Address the Indigenous housing crisis and put an end to chronic overcrowding and long-wait lists by working with Indigenous communities to implement a co-developed, fully funded Indigenous national Housing Strategy within first 100 days in office.
- Provide funding to support the creation and expansion of shelters for trans youth.
- Require large scale building retrofits in all sectors, to have retrofitting in all buildings in Canada by 2050—beginning with upgrades to all buildings built before 2020 in the next 20 years.
- Help families make energy efficient improvements to their homes through low-interest loans.
- Make sure that all Canadians have access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband within four years. Includes the creation of a Crown corporation to ensure the delivery of affordable telecom services to every community.
Create an acquisition fund using a financial reorganization of the National Housing Strategy programs. The fund would allow cooperatives and non-profit organizations to acquire housing that is currently accessible in the private market.
- Reinvest progressively in social, community and truly affordable housing until it reaches 1% of its total annual revenues
- Dedicate all surplus federal properties to the development of social, community and affordable housing to help reduce the housing crisis.
- Propose a tax on real estate speculation to counter the artificial rise in the market.
- Reform the homeownership system, considering the realities of Quebec households and increasingly diverse family situations.
Green Party of Canada
Declare housing affordability and homelessness a national emergency. Redefine affordable housing using a better, updated formula, that accounts for regional variations across the country.
- Immediately appoint the Federal Housing Advocate, as established in the National Housing Strategy Act.
- Establish a national moratorium on evictions; maintain a moratorium on evictions until the pandemic is over and for a reasonable time thereafter, in cooperation with provincial governments.
- Create national standards to establish rent and vacancy control.
- Provide a retroactive residential arrears assistance program to protect Canadians at risk of eviction or of being driven into homelessness due to accumulated rent arrears, as recommended by the National Right to Housing Network (NRHN) and the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA).
- Strengthen regulation to limit foreign investment and end predatory practices in residential real estate.
- Raise the “empty home” tax for foreign and corporate residential property owners who leave buildings and units vacant.
- Assess the role of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Canada’s housing market.
- Close tax haven loopholes that allow foreign investors to hide the names of beneficial owners of properties in Canada.
- Crack down on money laundering in Canadian real estate.
- Reinvest in affordable, non-profit, co-operative and supportive housing.
- Protect the existing stock of affordable housing by funding the purchase of buildings by non-profit and cooperative affordable housing organizations.
- Expand the Rapid Housing Initiative to bring new affordable and supportive housing onstream without delay.
- Invest in construction and operation of 50,000 supportive housing units over 10 years.
- Build and acquire a minimum of 300,000 units of deeply affordable non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over a decade.
- Create a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy and update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing, in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders. Require covenants to ensure that subsidized construction remains affordable over the long term.
- Restore quality, energy efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families, by providing financing to non-profit housing organizations, cooperatives, and social housing to build and restore quality and affordable housing.
- Implement integrated housing, so that everyone can afford to live in the communities in which they work and under quality conditions. Restore tax incentives for building purpose-built rental housing, and provide tax credits for gifts of lands, or of land and buildings, to community land trusts to provide affordable housing.
- Remove the “deemed” GST whenever a developer with empty condo units places them on the market as rentals.
- Re-focus the core mandate of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on supporting the development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing, as opposed to its current priority of supporting Canadian lenders to de-risk investment in housing ownership.
- Appoint a Minister of Housing to meet the needs of affordable housing that are unique to each province, oversee its implementation in collaboration with provincial ministers, and build on other aspects of the housing and homelessness crisis in Canada to tackle these issues.
- Change the legislation that prevents Indigenous organizations from accessing financing through CMHC to invest in self-determined housing needs.
- Require that housing developments that receive federal funding must ensure that 30% of all units in each development must be deeply affordable and/or available to people with disabilities and special needs.
- Ensure that all housing in Indigenous communities is built following principles laid out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Develop and implement an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.
- Leverage federal lands and real property for transfer to off-reserve Indigenous organizations to create housing and economic development opportunities.
- Assist urban and rural Indigenous people in identifying emergency accommodations and affordable housing options for youth, Elders, 2SLGBTQQIA+, and vulnerable populations.
- Establish a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing support program for all off-reserve and urban Indigenous communities and include off-reserve Status and non-Status Indigenous Peoples.
How REALTORS® can contribute
Regardless of personal political preferences, Election 2021 puts the REALTOR® community in a great position to demonstrate our passion, professionalism, and organizational abilities. As one of Canada’s largest industry associations, we are more than 140,000 members strong and a very powerful voice for real estate priorities.
Getting engaged by standing up for the interests of your clients in this election can be done in numerous ways, and every small act goes a long way toward bringing focus to our issues in the political discourse. Learn more about how you can contribute.
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