What can the federal government do to tackle the housing affordability crisis in Canada?
A lot, according to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.
Bob Finnigan, president of the CHBA, spoke with CREW about housing affordability in Canada. It’s one of the major issues currently plaguing the industry, according to Finnigan, who shared the association’s recommendations for addressing affordability the CHBA sent to the federal government.
In the document, entitled Continuing the conversation about homes, communities and Canadians
, the CHBA provided a number of suggestions for just improving the housing situation in Canada.
It recommended increasing the minimum amortization to 30 years, which would create 80,000 potential family buyers who are well qualified, according to the association.
The CHBA also recommended the government provide 50% of funding for infrastructure to help relieve the tax burden currently placed on buyers of new homes.
A refundable home renovation tax credit for first-time buyers is another initiative the association argues will help provide some relief.
Other suggestions include; focusing federal research on bringing better built homes to market, harmonizing codes, standards, trades and qualifications, and opening training support to Canadians pursuing jobs as skilled workers, while also boosting employer-led training and immigration programs.
Affordability is an issue for many potential homebuyers – especially in the country’s larger markets – and the government officially launched a conversation about impriving affordability this year.
The Canadian government has unveiled its housing strategy plans, following months of consultation with Canadians and industry stakeholders.
“Affordable housing can connect individuals with the facilities and services they need to build secure, productive and meaningful lives for themselves.
Living close to jobs, public transportation and childcare enables people to participate fully in society and the economy,” Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development, said in the report, entitled What we heard: Shaping Canada’s national housing strategy. “A National Housing Strategy will align the efforts and resources of all players – governments, stakeholders in the private and non-profit sectors and others – toward improving housing outcomes for all Canadians.”
The housing plan has a ways to go before actual policy is implemented, however.
“The hard work continues. Needless to say, broad consultations indulge peoples’ expectations, as they should,” the report said. “However, policy makers must balance these against fiscal constraints. Our objective will be to develop an NHS that employs finite government funds to maximum effect, yielding the best outcomes.”
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The Canadian government has come out and said it plans on tackling Canada's housing affordability issues. How that will be done remains to be seen, but one association has a few ideas.