Politicians need to clear the way for new builds, BCREA says.

It’s fine for politicians to have big plans about new housing, but without solid plans the British Columbia Real Estate Association worries nothing will get done regardless of who wins the election.

Those election platforms need to change into concrete plans – and fast – if anything is going to be done to increase the supply of new homes in Canada. It said without those detailed plans there will be “municipal bottlenecks, failed policy and disappointed homebuyers.”

“What we’ve seen promised so far falls short of what is needed to make a significant, long-lasting impact,” the association’s CEO Darlene Hyde said. “It is important for our new government to make creating a comprehensive housing strategy focused on increasing supply an immediate top priority.”

The association said there needs to be a federal housing strategy that incentivizes municipalities to speed up development approvals that already spend too much time “airing the grievances of a vocal minority.

Many of the measures proposed so far focus on increasing consumer flexibility and purchasing power and while the Liberals and Conservatives have lofty goals to build more market homes, neither of the parties addresses how they will do so in the face of significant barriers.

It added that building “non-market housing” in the form of affordable housing “without detailed plans on increasing supply across the housing spectrum, without detailed plans on increasing supply across the housing spectrum these measures will likely be met with disappointment as prospective buyers will experience a market that can’t meet their demand, causing continued upward pressure on prices.”

“We know through our assessment of the current and historical market conditions that there just aren’t enough listings to satisfy demand,” the association’s economist Brendon Ogmundson said. “To truly improve housing affordability and help British Columbians and Canadians get in homes, increasing supply is where the focus needs to be. Working with municipalities is essential in achieving this.”

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