Photo: James Beheshti / Unsplash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proposed a variety of measures intended to stabilize Canada’s housing market.

In a mandate letter issued to Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of housing and diversity and inclusion, Trudeau outlined a number of initiatives aimed at improving affordability and boosting supply, including the creation of a Fairness in Real Estate Action Plan.

The plan would include temporarily banning foreign homebuyers from purchasing non-recreational property “so that housing does not sit vacant and unavailable to Canadians,” and end the blind bidding process to provide more transparency in real estate transactions.

“As Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, your overarching goal is to help ensure Canadians can get a home of their own, through work to improve housing affordability and end chronic homelessness,” Trudeau wrote.

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The Fairness in Real Estate Action Plan would also include a review of down payment requirements for investment properties and introduce an anti-flipping tax, requiring residential properties to be held for at least 12 months before reselling.

In addition, Trudeau noted the plan’s intention to prevent “renovictions” and help federal policy makers respond to fluctuations in the housing market, as well as “developing policies to curb excessive profits in investment properties while protecting small independent landlords.”

Earlier this week the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that the national average home price reached $720,850 in November — a year-over-year increase of 19.6 per cent — and is expected to climb to $739,500 in 2022.

In the letter, Trudeau also highlighted two housing priorities recently outlined in the throne speech. A new Housing Accelerator Fund will assist municipalities in boosting housing supply through increased density and reduced construction approval timelines, and a new rent-to-own program will help develop projects across the county.

Last week, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation launched a call for ideas for both programs, which aim to “increase the supply of homes for middle income earners and help renters achieve the dream of homeownership.” Ideas can be submitted until Jan. 31, 2022.

Trudeau’s housing push follows new Statistics Canada data that shows increased immigration pushed the nation’s population to 38,436,4447 by the start of October, an increase of 190,3339 — or 0.5 per cent — since Canada Day.

Canada welcomed 122,748 new immigrants during the third quarter, the highest levels seen during any quarter since 1946 and more than three times higher (40,116) than the same time period in 2020.


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