Federal Election 2019: How Political Parties Are Addressing Homeownership
Foreword by CREA President Jason Stephen
Although summer has just begun, REALTORS® should begin thinking about a major event happening this fall: the 2019 federal election.
The measures geared toward helping first-time home buyers included in the Liberals’ 2019 budget are the direct result of years of bold and innovative policy discussions between our Political Action Committee representatives and key decisions makers.
Looking forward to the election, CREA reached out to four political parties and asked what each will be doing to support homeownership. Their responses can be found below.
To keep you involved and up to date during the elections, CREA will make resources available to help boards, associations and REALTORS® engage with their local candidates. More on that below as well.
On behalf of CREA’s Board of Directors and staff, here’s wishing you a fun, safe, and prosperous summer.
Question: The reality of joining the middle class may never be a possibility due to homeownership being out of reach for some Canadians. This is supported by residential sales via Canadian MLS®Systems in 2018 falling to their lowest levels since 2012. How can the federal government counteract the decline in sales activity to support access to homeownership?
Prime Minister of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal team believes everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, and has been working since 2015 to address the real challenges facing middle class families. That is why the Liberal government announced Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy—a 10-year, $40 billion plan that provides more Canadians a place to call home, reduces homelessness, and helps Canadian families.
There has also been investments to help municipalities find innovative ways to grow the supply of housing. Most recently in Budget 2019, the Liberal government announced a 40% increase to the Home Buyers’ Plan and the new innovative First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, making homeownership more affordable for first-time buyers by helping them to lower their monthly mortgage payments. The Liberal team is offering real help to young Canadians and families who want a safe and affordable place to call home, and there’s so much more to do.
Leader of the Opposition, Conservative Party of Canada
Housing affordability has become a critical issue across the country, one that Justin Trudeau has failed to address.
All federal politicians need to recognize that there is no national Canadian housing market. We have many different markets in this country, and government policies need to be flexible.
A Conservative government will review and rework the mortgage stress test the Liberals brought in a couple of years ago that pushed the dream of homeownership out of reach for so many Canadians. We will also stop stress testing mortgage renewals so more Canadians can have the freedom to shop for better rates.
We also have to find new ways to get more supply on the market. That is why I will work with provinces and municipalities to knock down regulatory barriers that discourage new home construction. And we will reduce regulations on builders, simplify the national building code and ensure code improvements are voluntary.
The only sustainable long-term solution to high home prices is to build more homes.
Leader of the New Democratic Party
For too many Canadians, the dream of owning a home seems further away than ever. Canadians are struggling to get into the market as they watch prices spiral upward, putting homeownership more and more out of reach. Successive federal governments haven’t done much to make homeownership more accessible for Canadians. New Democrats think that we must take immediate action to put the dream of homeownership within reach.
That’s why we will reintroduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers. We’ll also give people a hand with closing costs by doubling the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500. For Canadians who are open to innovative paths to homeownership, a New Democrat government will provide resources to facilitate co-housing and ease access to financing by offering Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation-backed co-ownership mortgages.
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Home builders and home buyers both benefit from certainty in the economy. The Government of Canada can support people to become homeowners by incentivizing investment in industries and sectors that are already driving quality job creation in this century with more certainty and growth potential than the boom and bust sunset industries of the previous one.
By reducing the flow of international dark money that distorts housing markets through speculation and irregular transactions, the federal government can also work to ensure incomes in housing markets are more closely aligned with housing values. More can be done to address the increasing costs that pressure home builders through things like GST rebates on construction materials for priority housing needs in communities, passing on savings to working Canadians who deserve quality homes.