The 2019 federal election is fast approaching, and the housing debate continues to be a hot topic in the country. A national housing strategy that’s assessed annually and updated based on economic markers and buying trends is crucial to the longevity of Canada’s housing market.
Over the last year and half, real estate has made headlines: interest rates, high home prices, affordable housing strategies, and government intervention with new regulations such as the mortgage stress test.
Many Canadians, especially millennials, new immigrants and those employed in the so-called “gig economy” feel home ownership is becoming less tangible by the day. While politicians of all stripes acknowledge the mounting urgency of affordable housing, few are offering any timely or compelling solutions.
To-date, Canada’s housing affordability issue remains rampant. The government has made efforts to help Canadians effectively manage their household debt as a way to improve affordability, with the mortgage stress test, which I am 100 per cent supportive of – but the stress test has done more harm than good and is simply unrealistic based on economic forecasts.
As a country, we must incentivize and support homebuyers – especially first timers who are currently precluded from entering the housing market. We can’t let policies become barriers to the Canadian dream. We need a strategy to resolve our housing challenges in the long-term versus Band-Aid solutions to appease political agendas in the short-term.
To this end, it’s important that voters consider the different viewpoints of the parties as well as their own, as they prepare to cast their vote on October 21. Here’s an overview of the biggest housing hurdles to be addressed, as well as the party positions thus far.
Housing affordability and cost of living are among voters’ top concerns, making this the number-one focus for all party candidates in the 2019 Federal Election. Canadians seek a government that will address their housing concerns and prioritize the health of our economy. As election day nears, I encourage Canadian voters to educate themselves on the issues, and consider their candidates’ answers to these questions, to help inform their decisions:
- How will you address the mortgage stress test to ensure it effectively addresses housing affordability?
- How will you encourage millennials and first-time homebuyers to purchase homes?
- What’s the plan to create more affordable housing across the country – particularly in hot markets such as Toronto and Vancouver?
Here are some hot-button issues in the housing debate that will affect homebuyers and sellers in 2020 and beyond.