Photo: James Bombales

Soaring home prices and a persistent shortage of affordable supply continues to worry Canadians, particularly younger generations who fear they will never become homeowners because of competitive market conditions.

With the upcoming federal election set for Sept. 20, some voters are looking to the government for solutions to fix the country’s chronic housing crisis.

In a new survey, Royal LePage found 40 per cent of respondents nationwide agreed that a political candidate’s position on tackling the “housing crisis” will influence their vote. This number increased to 57 per cent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 to 34, which is the highest among all of the survey’s age groups.

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Renters were more likely to agree that political positioning on housing would influence their vote, with 48 per cent sharing this sentiment versus 35 per cent of those who own a home.

Breaking down the survey’s responses geographically, a candidate’s position on the housing market is most likely to sway votes in British Columbia (48 per cent), Ontario (46 per cent) and Alberta (46 per cent). The online Royal LePage survey gathered answers from 1,527 Canadians.

“Access to housing is a fundamental human right, for without adequate shelter, a family lacks the foundation upon which they can live and work safely and with dignity,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, in the report. “In this election, Canadians are demanding ideas, answers and a commitment to address the nation’s housing supply and affordability crisis. The growing housing deficiency in this country is one of the great threats to our prosperity as a people.”

Photo: James Bombales

The vast majority of those surveyed (84 per cent) expressed concerns that rising home prices would prevent an increasing number of Canadians from attaining homeownership. In the 18 to 34 age group category, this rises to 88 per cent. Respondents in Atlantic Canada (86 per cent), Ontario (85 per cent) and British Columbia (84 per cent) were the most likely to feel concerned about rising prices making homeownership less achievable for Canadians.

All three major political parties have released their campaign housing platforms, with proposed policies aimed at controlling foreign ownership, new taxes and boosting supply.

“The 2021 federal election has seen housing policy become a headline priority and key leadership promise in all major party platforms,” said Soper. “Royal LePage is encouraged to see that addressing housing shortages is a top priority, a sign that concerned Canadians are being heard,”

Soper added that while tax and grant programs can benefit new buyers, addressing housing supply shortages will tackle the “root cause of this crisis.”

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