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One advocate calling for more action from feds to address housing crisis

Dean Tester, from the Make Housing Affordable says increasing the number of housing units could alleviate the city's housing crisis
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Dean Tester, from the Make Housing Affordable group based in Ottawa, hopes that the federal government can step in and decrease housing prices and especially for first-time home buyers. 

Tester spoke with The Rob Snow Show on Tuesday, April 5, and said the federal government can look at building units around transit stations. 

"What I'd like to see the federal government do is start going in and saying, 'If we're funding your huge transit project like the LRT, we want to make sure that housing is actually getting built near those transit stations," he explained. " 'We want to make sure infrastructure is directed to support denser communities.' "

He adds that increasing the number of units could also act as a solution, but points out that Canada, let alone Ottawa, is lagging behind in the number of units per capita. 

"We just aren't building nearly enough housing," he says. "Canada ranks dead last in housing units per capita in the G7 and Ontario is the leading driver of that problem." 

He adds for a city such as Ottawa, it would need to build 72,000 units overnight to be an "average" city. He says less than 10,000 units get built annually. In terms of those on a waiting list for a home, Tester says, they could be waiting for five years or even longer. 

He adds since house prices have doubled over the past couple of years, the market is un-affordable for first-time home buyers. 

Tax credit, on the other hand, for first time home buyers, Tester says should theoretically work, but it could be driving up the prices.

"All that really does is, for someone like me who's trying to get my first house, you know, if I got an extra $5,000 through a tax-credit, for example, well so does everyone else I'm bidding against," he explains.

"So you're just driving the price up for everybody, you're not actually helping the affordability (decrease), because the demand is so high." 

You can listen to Dean Tester's full conversation below: 


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