Photo: James Bombales

Fixing Canada’s housing market woes is a keystone item in each political party’s campaign this election. Promises to curb foreign ownership, bring about new taxes and boost the country’s housing supply are central election commitments among the three main parties.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has come out on the side of affordability.

“If the last election was about jobs, jobs, jobs, this election is about homes, homes, homes,” said David Oikle, president of OREA.

“Ontario’s Realtors are thrilled to see housing affordability is a top election issue with voters. All three major federal parties – the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party of Canada – have put ideas on the table to make the Canadian Dream of home ownership more affordable.”

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OREA stated that it wants to keep the dream of homeownership “alive”, which can be achieved, “if governments make it easier for first-time buyers to own a home.”

On the table of proposed solutions, all three parties plan to build, repair and invest in new homes. They have also expressed intentions to repurpose underutilized federal buildings, a move that OREA “strongly supports.”

“Canadians want to own homes, but the lack of supply is causing a crisis with more buyers chasing fewer and fewer homes,” stated OREA. “Creating more supply is essential in addressing the affordability crisis.”

In its housing platform, the Liberal party says it will build, preserve or repair 1.4 million homes over four years. The Liberals would also introduce a Multi-generational Home Renovation Tax Credit to support secondary suites in homes, along with a $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund to help cities build more quickly.

OREA stated that the renovation tax credit would encourage provincial governments to continue making policies that would reduce red tape on secondary suite development, while giving Ontarians access to forms of affordable housing.

Photo: James Bombales

The Conservatives have promised to build one million homes across a three-year period, in addition to releasing 15 per cent of federal real estate for housing needs and encouraging developers to build rentals. The party has also planned to build public transit infrastructure near homes, which OREA says aligns with their position to create density near transit and the development of transit-oriented communities.

If elected, the NDP would waive the federal portion of the GST/HST tax on the construction of new affordable rental units, and use federal resources to create co-op, social and non-profit housing in unused or underutilized buildings. By waiving federal tax on affordable rentals, OREA explained that the NDP’s plan “addresses the need for a wide range of new housing to young families.”

“It’s clear our federal leaders are paying attention, and this election has brought Canada’s housing affordability crisis to the forefront of the political debate,” said Oikle in a press release. “The Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP all have their own plans on how to best address the crisis, and have put their ideas on the table, leaving the decision with voters.”

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