How the Federal Parties Plan to Tackle Housing as Part of Their Election Promises

How the Federal Parties Plan to Tackle Housing as Part of Their Election Promises

The main federal political parties have released their housing plans. TRREB is encouraged by the attention being given by all parties to housing affordability challenges, something that TRREB has consistently advocated for many years. The affordability challenges we see today are fundamentally rooted in the fact that housing supply has not kept up with population growth, and we continue to push all parties to focus on a sustainable supply of diverse home types that meet the needs and expectations of GTA residents.

Below is a full summary of the various housing and real estate related campaign commitments released so far.

 

Liberal Party logo.

The Liberal Party housing plan is focused on a three-part strategy, including commitments for new government funding to support homeownership; a plan to build more homes to address supply constraints; and measures to establish and protect new rights to buyers, including banning “blind bidding.” Click here to see TRREB’s position on blind bidding.

Unlock homeownership

  • Introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account that combines the features of both an RRSP and a TFSA to allow Canadians up to age 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home, and to withdraw it tax-free to put toward a home purchase with no requirement to repay it.
  • Double the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit from $5,000 to $10,000 to help with closing costs.  
  • Force CMHC to slash mortgage insurance rates by 25 per cent – a $6,100 savings for the average person, and increase the insured mortgage cut-off from $1 million to $1.25 million and index it to inflation.
  • Proposing a “rent-to-own” program with $1 billion in new funding to help renters become homeowners.

Build more homes

  • Invest $4 billion in a Housing Accelerator Fund for the creation of 100,000 new middle-class homes in four years. This will provide the tools to municipalities to increase supply, reduce approval times, establish inclusionary zoning bylaws and encourage transit-oriented development.
  • A promise of $2.7 billion over four years to build or repair more affordable homes.
  • Convert empty office and retail space into market-based housing.
  • Introduce a Multigenerational Home Renovation tax credit to be used for adding a secondary unit by being able to claim a 15% tax credit up to $50,000 in renovation and construction costs.

Protect your rights

  • Put a 2-year ban on new foreign ownership in Canadian housing, so foreign buyers will not be allowed to purchase a non-recreational, residential property.
  • Implement a 1% national tax on non-resident, non-Canadian owners of vacant, underused housing (as outlined in Budget 2021), including foreign-owned vacant land within large urban areas.
  • Will review the tax treatment of large corporate owners of residential properties such as REITs to curb excessive profits, and will also review the down payment requirements for investment properties to limit speculation.
  • Strengthen federal oversight of the housing market by establishing the Canada Financial Crimes Agency as Canada’s first-ever national law enforcement agency solely dedicated to investigating and combatting all forms of major financial crime, including money laundering in the housing market. Additionally, the power of federal regulators will be increased so they can respond to housing price fluctuations.
  • Establish an anti-flipping tax on residential properties, requiring properties to be held for at least 12 months to reduce speculative demand.
  • Introduce a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights to ensure the process of buying a home is fair, open and transparent, including banning blind bidding, establishing a legal right to a home inspection, ensuring total transparency on the history of recent house sale prices on title searches, requiring real estate agents to disclose to all participants in a transaction when they are involved in both sides of a potential sale, creating a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry, ensuring banks and lenders offer mortgage deferrals for up to 6 months in event of job loss or major life event, requiring mortgage lenders act in the buyer’s best interest, and stopping “renovictions.”

Liberal Housing Plan

Full Liberal Platform

 

Conservative Party logo.

The Conservatives are promising to ease housing affordability through a three-pronged approach that involves increasing housing supply, tackling money laundering and foreign investors, and making mortgages more affordable.

Increase supply by building 1 million homes in the next three years

  • Leverage federal infrastructure investments to increase housing supply by:
  • Building public transit infrastructure that connects homes and jobs by bringing public transit to where people are buying homes; and
  • Requiring 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 over 37,000 buildings – and release at least 15% for housing while improving the Federal Lands Initiative.
  • Incent developers to build the housing Canadians both want and need, by:
  • Encouraging Canadians to invest in rental housing by extending the ability to defer capital gains tax when selling a rental property and reinvesting in rental housing, something that is currently excluded; and
  • Exploring converting unneeded office space to housing.
  • Enhance the viability of using Community Land Trusts for affordable housing by creating an incentive for corporations and private landowners to donate property to Land Trusts for the development of affordable housing.

Tackle corrupt activities driving up costs of housing, money laundering and foreign investors

  • 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.
  • Ban foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes here for a two-year period after which it will be reviewed.
  • Encourage foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing that is affordable to Canadians.

Make mortgages more affordable

  • Encourage the offering of seven- to ten-year mortgages to provide stability for both first-time home buyers and lenders.
  • Remove the requirement to conduct a stress test when a homeowner renews a mortgage with another lender.
  • 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.
  • Fix the mortgage stress test to stop discriminating against small business owners, contractors, and other non-permanent employees including casual workers.
  • No capital gains tax on the sale of Canadians’ principal residences.

Full Conservative Platform

 

NDP Party logo.

The NDP’s housing plan focuses on making housing more affordable for families while helping young Canadians and families buy a home they can afford, and build 500,000 new affordable homes in ten years with half done within the first five years.

Increase affordable housing supply

  • Building 500,000 affordable homes in ten years.
  • Work in partnership with provinces and municipalities, build capacity for social, community, and affordable housing providers, to provide rental support for co-ops, and meet environmental energy efficiency goals. 
  • Set up dedicated fast-start funds to streamline the application process for co-ops, social, and non-profit housing.
  • Mobilize federal resources and lands for these projects, turning unused and underused properties into vibrant new communities.

Go after “big money” investors by:

  • Putting a 20% Foreign Buyers’ tax on the sale of homes to individuals who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. 
  • Target money laundering and organized crime within the housing sector by making it harder to hide behind numbered companies and giving regulators more teeth.

Make mortgages more affordable

  • Re-introduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers. 
  • Double the Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to $1,500 to help with closing costs.
  • Provide resources to facilitate co-housing, such as model co-ownership agreements and connections to local resources, and ease access to financing by offering CMHC-backed co-ownership mortgages.

Housing climate action and broadband

  • 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.
  • Canadians to have access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband within four years.

Full NDP Platform

 

Green Party logo.

The Green Party’s housing plan focuses on investing in affordable, non-profit, co-operative and supportive housing.

  • The federal government to redefine “affordable housing” using an updated formula.
  • Propose stronger regulation of foreign investment in real estate.
  • Create a federal “empty home tax” that would apply to foreign and corporate property owners who leave units vacant.
  • Pledge to work with other parties to address homelessness and expensive housing costs by declaring a national housing emergency.
  • Create a retroactive benefit payment for tenants.
  • Establish a national moratorium on rental evictions during and after the pandemic, and establish rent and vacancy controls.
  • Support a greater share of tax revenues and decision-making authority for municipalities including use of city charters.
  • Allocate 1% of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure projects on ongoing basis.
  • Create a national green retrofit program for existing residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings.
  • Update the national building code to require all new construction and major renovations to older buildings meet net-zero standards by 2030.
  • Work with provinces and cities to build at least 300,000 affordable housing units over the next ten years.

Public bidding vs Blind Bidding

Liberals pledge to ban blind bidding and make public bidding mandatory, would it help cooling off the market? Australia is the country has already implemented this but it did not prevent the market from rising.
For those of you not sure how the public bidding works, please refer to this public bidding video in Australia.
Housing Platform from different political parties:  

Conservatives

  • Aim to have one million homes built across the country in the next three years
  • Ban foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes for a two-year period, encourage foreign investment in affordable purpose-built rental housing
  • Encourage new market in seven-to-10-year mortgages to “provide stability” for first-time homebuyers and lenders
  • Will not tax Canadians’ capital gains on the sale of their principal residence
  • Adjust mortgage stress test to “stop discriminating” against small business owners, contractors and other non-permanent employees, including casual workers

Liberals

  • Commit $1 billion in loans and grants towards rent-to-own projects
  • Introduce tax-free First Home Savings Account, which allows Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home with no requirement to repay it
  • Give Canadians option of deferred mortgage loan as alternative to shared equity model and reduce monthly mortgage costs
  • Double the First-Home Buyers Tax Credit from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Reduce monthly mortgage costs by reducing price charged by Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on mortgage insurance by 25 per cent. Liberal Party says this will save “a typical person” $6,100.
  • “Build, preserve or repair” 1.4 million homes in the next four years
  • Ban blind bidding
  • Ban new foreign ownership for the next two years
  • Expand the upcoming tax on vacant housing
  • Halt so-called renovictions by “deterring” unfair rent increases

NDP

  • Introduce 30-year terms on mortgages insured by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Pledging 500,000 “quality, affordable” housing units within 10 years
  • 20 per cent tax on homes purchased by foreign buyers
  • Waive federal portion of GST/HST on construction of new affordable rental units
  • Double homebuyer’s tax credit to $1,500 and roll it into a rebate so money is received when moving in, not at tax time
  • Open up borrowing restrictions to allow people to buy a home with friends and roommates
  • Give families in need of housing up to $5,000 per year to pay for rent
  • Make home inspections mandatory when selling a home

Bloc Québécois

  • Invest one per cent of the Federal government’s annual revenue into social housing
  • Convert all unused federal properties in affordable social housing to fight the housing crisis
  • Introduce a new tax on real estate speculation

Peter He is Talking about GTA Real Estate on TV

Peter He: Toronto's Housing Affordability Challenges are Here to Stay...
Peter He OminiTV.jpg

How will the new cannabis laws affect real estate?

Cannabis is just legalized in Canada, what do you think? Is it a good thing or bad thing? 
How would this cannabis law affect your home value? ...
As per a survey, 57 per cent of homeowner respondents said they think that even growing a legal amount of cannabis at home would reduce their desire to buy that property...
If you are a landlord, now it's time to take extra caution to ask the applicants questions about their cannabis use history, this could be more important than asking if they smoke or have pets...

A small marijuana plant grows in a lab at the new Commercial Cannabis Production Program at Niagara College, Oct. 9, 2018.

It may be legal to smoke, grow, and possess marijuana come Oct. 17, but that doesn't mean Canadians looking to purchase real estate are suddenly going to be chill about it.

According to a new report on cannabis and real estate from real estate site Zoocasa, 52 per cent of Canadians say they'd be less likely to consider specific houses for sale if they knew a legal amount of cannabis was grown in it.

Upon legalization, each Canadian household will be allowed to cultivate four marijuana plants.

Baby boomers (54 to 72 years old) and Gen Xers (38-53 years old) were more likely than millennials (22 to 37 years old) to think a legal amount of pot grown in a home would reduce their desire to buy it. Nearly six in 10 of boomers and Gen Xers (59 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively) agreed, compared to just over a third of millennials (38 per cent).

Over half of current homeowners (57 per cent) believe growing a legal amount of cannabis would harm a property's resale value, while 26 per cent disagree and 18 per cent are unsure.

Watch: What's legal and what's not under Canada's new cannabis law. Story continues below.

 

Zoocasa managing editor Penelope Graham said Bill C-45 has created a lot of uncertainty for homeowners because "there isn't much clarity yet on whether there will be negative implications for home values and marketability."

"Prior to legalization, there were mortgage and insurance consequences for those who smoked or grew cannabis in their homes, and there has yet to be any concrete clarification as to how this will change once the legislation is in place," Graham said in a statement emailed to HuffPost Canada.

"For this reason, the question of whether or not homeowners, buyers, and sellers need protection and education continues to be a hot button topic for real estate associations, agents and appraisers."

 

WOMEN'S HEALTH

 

The survey also looked at how current homeowners, landlords and tenants feel about smoking cannabis indoors. Nearly two-thirds of homeowners (64 per cent) felt that smoking cannabis inside would harm their home's resale value. Nearly half of renters (46 per cent) also agreed smoking cannabis in a home would devalue it.

Most landlords (70 per cent) say landlords should be able to charge higher rents if tenants want to smoke cannabis inside their homes and just over half of Canadians overall (52 per cent) say the same, though only 13 per cent of renters say they'd be willing to actually pay it.

An overwhelming majority of landlords polled in the survey said that they want or plan to ban smoking within their rental properties.

Mixed feelings about dispensaries

Indoor cannabis consumption and cultivation aside, almost half (48 per cent) of respondents said the presence of a dispensary would reduce their desire to purchase a property, and almost as many (42 per cent) feel having one in the neighbourhood would harm the value of nearby homes.

Less than a third of respondents (31 per cent) said they're comfortable with a dispensary opening in their area, compared to 59 per cent saying the same thing about liquor stores.

Zoocasa conducted an online survey from Sept. 27-Oct. 3 among 1,380 respondents who live in Canada. The results have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.