The Liberal government will attempt to ease Canada’s housing crisis with more than $10 billion in funding to speed up the construction and repair of homes, as well as banning home purchases from foreign investors and taking tax measures to reduce speculation, while adding assistance for those trying to enter the market.
Commitments are one of the biggest spending areas in the federal budget unveiled Thursday, though the plans rely heavily on cooperation with other levels of government and the private sector.
“Over the next 10 years, we will double the number of new homes we build. This must become a great national effort, and it will require a new spirit of collaboration,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her budget presentation.
The housing portion of the budget is a mix of promises from the 2021 election campaign and commitments made to the New Democratic Party under a supply and confidence agreement, with a clear focus on increasing housing. ‘offer.
The spending includes $4 billion in a sweeping accelerator fund for municipalities to help with housing planning and delivery, with a target of 100,000 new units over five years.
There’s also $1.5 billion over two years for more than 6,000 new affordable housing units through the Rapid Housing Initiative, $475 million for housing assistance, and the acceleration of 2.9 billions of dollars of spending already promised through a co-investment fund to provide housing for vulnerable Canadians.
Other measures include $150 million for affordable housing in Canada’s North over the next two years, more than $600 million for new and existing programs to address homelessness, and just over $1 billion for various home energy efficiency initiatives, including loans and grants for greener projects. affordable housing.
The commitments also include $4.3 billion in spending for Indigenous communities over seven years, including $2.4 billion for on-reserve housing, though those numbers are well below what advocates say is needed.
The Liberals say they will also mobilize more than $40 billion in infrastructure funding to push cities and provinces to act faster on housing.
The country is also under pressure to cool an overheated market after prices soared more than 20% from last year to a record $816,720 in February, while rental rates also rose.
“We recognize that the main challenge in Canada when it comes to housing is the lack of supply,” Freeland said at a press conference Thursday afternoon, pointing out that the budget targeted the supply side of the housing equation. while recognizing that other levels of government will be required to fully execute the plan.
The budget will seek to provide some price relief by banning foreign buyers from buying homes for the next two years and taxing home sales within one year of purchase as business income , although there are many exemptions to both measures.
The Liberals also announced a review of the extent to which big business buying homes are affecting the market and options such as tax measures available to them to deal with the growing trend, but made no political commitment to this. topic.
The budget includes measures to help people trying to get into the market, including a new savings account and changes to the tax credit for first-time home buyers.
Homebuyers in general will gain more protections through a Bill of Rights which is proposed to include a right to a home inspection, end of blind bidding – a widely used practice where sellers do not disclose competing offers – as well as the potential for mortgage deferrals and increased realtor disclosures.
—Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press