Federal parties need comprehensive housing strategies: OREA

by Neil Sharma on 22 Jul 2019

The Ontario Real Estate Association wants federal political parties to make homeownership cornerstones of their election campaigns, and according to its CEO, homeownership shouldn’t be prohibitive.

“We need to fix the one-size-fits-all, harsh mortgage restrictions holding people back who would otherwise qualify for owning a home,” said Tim Hudak, himself the former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. “Sadly, the rate of homeownership in Canada is in decline for the first time in history, and the two main causes, both with government, is artificially limiting housing supply, which limits choice and puts affordability out of reach for families.

“Federally-imposed mortgage restrictions have meant families who could afford homes are being disqualified because of the mortgage stress test. Fewer than 100 days out from the federal election campaign, this is a great opportunity for all four parties to offer a comprehensive housing plan to restore Canadians’ dream of homeownership. But, unfortunately, so far they seem to be missing the boat. “

OREA has three recommendations for federal parties: Reinstate 30-year amortizations as an option; make B-20 more flexible rather than a one-size-fits-all policy; and eliminate the stress test on mortgage switches for financially responsible borrowers.

However, on the issue of how to make housing affordable, Hudak says the preponderant reason pertains to supply.

“The most important thing is for the government to increase housing supply. The provincial government has already made progress,” Hudak said of the More Homes, More Choice Act, which encourages rezoning that favours intensification.

“It allows greater density around major transportation hubs, like subways and GO stations and building above them. My centre point is even if there are more homes on the market, these unfair, harsh mortgage restrictions will disqualify far too many people from even putting an offer in.”

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