08 November 2021 ~ 0 Comments

When will Buyers get a break?

The Federal Liberal government has been touting for years that they would be the ones to bring housing affordability to Canadians, not only across the country, but also in major cities. 

The national housing strategy over the past four years has been a huge failure and house prices have escalated beyond the reach of even many well earning buyers in the highly sought after 18-40 voter cohort. 

So why do they continue to get re-elected?

This time around, after pretty much not existent changes to affordability, the Federal Liberals have come out with a whole set of new promises.

  • Build, Repair or preserve an existing 1.4 million homes to increase supply
  • Increase the first time buyer tax credit to $10,000 and add $1 Billion dollars towards loans and grants geared to rent to own projects
  • Create a tax free Home savings account for those under 40 to save up to $40,000 and withdraw it tax free to be towards a home purchase
  • Introduce a Home Buyers Bill of Rights that would criminalize blind bidding and establishing the right to a home inspection (this one’s my favourite!)
  • Impose a ban on foreign homeownership for the next two years

Classic government rhetoric that will have zero to little impact on affordability.

Foreign owners already are finding loopholes around these changes by registering a corporation and buying the house as a business. There goes that idea.

Oh, and when you have the chance to save an extra $40,000 to use towards that home purchase that might take you two or more years to save. Guess what, the ban will be lifted. And once again local buyers will be left behind. 

Rent-to-own projects are full of complexities that often lead to the buyer either forfeiting the property (and their built up equity) or, they end up paying much higher rates to qualify. 

This part is for all you current home owners. You could risk criminalization if you carry out a blind bid situation. This is hilarious. So your rights as a seller are to be those less than that of a buyer? Listen, I’m all for Buyers having more opportunities but under the Liberal plan its completely flawed.

How about if we really want to make change let’s try the following:

  • Create a think tank for National Housing of non government alignments and make sure it’s truly bi partisan. Housing is a long term planning issue. Not something that should be geared towards getting votes every two to four years. And once this group is created, listen to them! 
  • Increase property taxes to say 5x’s the current rates if you are a foreign buyer and funnel the entire proceeds on the difference to a fund that gives direct credit to first time buyers born in Canada on purpose built condominiums. After all, condos really are the first time buyer home in our major cities. 
  • Tax the same foreign buyer an offshore one time tax of 5% of the purchase price with said funds being applied to the program above
  • Tax any homeowner/corporation who have more than two properties on a sliding scale, in either an annual tax or a surcharge on top of property taxes. More corporations around North America are scooping up housing and renting them out. Some are being bought in the 1000’s. 
  • Finally, have the government build purpose built rental properties that aren’t only for the lowest of income brackets. Yes the need is great for our cities most vulnerable as well as the immigrants and refugees we welcome. We have tons of surplus government land at all levels. Let’s unlock it and build for all categories, including citizens born in Canada. Get creative in what’s required to participate and live in housing. 

You get the idea. If the plan is to truly make home ownership affordable, then stop being so passive in dealing with it. If a first time buyer can use a condo purchase as a stepping stone into the market, over time they can build equity and appreciation and then use this in their next purchase. 

This isn’t about penalizing the foreign buyer, it’s about trying to make fair a system in a country that welcomes people from all over the world to a place to build a better life. But we need to make sure that our children and their children also have opportunity, even if the circumstances aren’t entirely the same. 

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