Canada has the lowest number of housing units per capita among all of the G7 nations and the severe housing shortage plus lack of affordable options is a hot button issue that is top of mind for voters as they cast their ballots Monday.
Real estate prices in several cities have climbed to all-time highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Vancouver now listed as the second most unaffordable city in the world and Toronto not far behind at number six.
An Angus Reid report this spring stated more than six in 10 Canadians between 18 and 34 were feeling “miserable” about their housing situation. The same was true for five of 10 among those slightly older, between the ages of 35 and 44.
According to an RBC survey done earlier this year, more than a third of Canadians aged between 18 and 40 doubt they’ll ever be able to save enough to buy a home and a whopping 62 per cent expect to be priced out of the market over the next decade.
The housing crisis has prompted federal party leaders to make lofty commitments, as they hone in on the issue as a clear vote-getter in this snap election.
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau is promising an anti-flipping tax among various other measures to cool off the housing market.
“We’ll crack down on predatory speculators, competing with families trying to buy their first home. That means no more foreign wealth parked in homes that people should be living in,” Trudeau has said. “We’ll also make the process of buying a home more transparent, so no more blind bidding.”
That promise came on the heels of NEWS 1130 and CityNews breaking the story on a Vancouver Liberal candidate involved in a number of rapid fire real estate deals.
We later learned Taleeb Noormohamed had bought and sold at least 21 homes within a year of buying them since 2005.
Noormohamed told OMNI Television that some of his 40 plus home sales are related to his business, which he runs with his parents that involves fixing up homes and then selling them.
“Some of those transactions I was involved with in the past. Had that policy been in place today around speculation tax, then those properties, or those transactions, would have been subject to those taxes. And that’s perfectly fine. I support that completely, because I think it’s important for all of us to do our fair share,” he said.
The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh is promising to increase the capital gains tax back up to 75 per cent to deter home flipping and foreign investors.
“We don’t want economic growth to be driven by rich investors, who want to make profit off your housing or foreign investors that see an opportunity to invest in our Canadian housing market, driving up the cost of housing for Canadians who can’t afford a home,” he said.
Singh is also pledging to crack down on “renovictions” and up to $5,000 in rent help, as well as to levy a 20 per cent foreign buyers’ tax on the sale of homes to individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The Conservative Party Leader, Erin O’Toole, is promising to take on the issue of supply — pledging to build a million homes in three years.
O’Toole says he’ll release 15 per cent of federally owned buildings into the housing market, ban foreign investors from buying property for at least two years and make changes to the mortgage stress test.
“The Government of Canada is the largest land owner in the country. Much of the land the government owns could be developed for housing. We will release at least 15 per cent of the buildings that belong to the federal government to build more homes,” he said.