Canadian Home Builders’ Association Day on the Hill Provides an Opportunity for Parliamentarians to Help Canadians Unlock the Door to Homeownership
Ottawa, February 26, 2019 – The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is meeting with Members of Parliament and Senators today to provide practical solutions to address the housing affordability challenges facing Canadians today, including millennials and new Canadians.
“Our CHBA members from across Canada, residential construction industry leaders from large and small communities from coast to coast, are on Parliament Hill to deliver one message to federal parliamentarians: it is time to unlock the door to homeownership,” said CHBA CEO Kevin Lee. “It is an election year, and people across Canada, especially millennials and new Canadians, see homeownership under threat. CHBA’s membership has been gravely concerned about decreasing affordability for years, and last year’s implementation of the stress test has added more challenges. There are indeed steps that Parliamentarians can take to help Canadians achieve their goal of homeownership, and our members are here to discuss CHBA’s recommendations.”
CHBA’s primary recommendations are to take action immediately to address the mortgage system given today’s changed economic conditions and the challenges facing buyers, industry, and local economies:
Action 1: Mortgage Rules - Fix the stress test by introducing a varied stress test tied to the mortgage term and conditions and reintroduce 30-year insured mortgages for well-qualified first-time buyers.
Once that is done, there are also several additional actions that can be taken to address the more complex issues of housing affordability:
Action 2 – Tax System Adjustments: can affect positive changes for buyers by increasing limits to the First-time Homebuyers Plan and increasing the GST/HST rebate thresholds to reflect today’s market prices.
Action 3 – Avoid Adding Cost through Codes: by adopting affordability as a core objective of the National Building Code; and invest in innovation and R&D for lower or neutral costs solutions to address energy efficiency, climate adaptation & resilience, accessibility & visitability and health & safety to ensure any future code changes are affordable before implementation.
Action 4 – Address Climate Change through Renovation: by introducing an energy retrofit tax credit that uses the EnerGuide Rating System.
Action 5 – Use Federal Levers to Help Supply: by collecting and sharing better data regarding housing supply issues across Canada; and leverage federal transit investments and federal land write downs to incent affordable, market-rate, mixed-use, mixed-income communities.
A national poll conducted in 2018 by Earnscliffe Strategy Group for CHBA found that 3 out of 4 Canadians think when you are middle class you should be able to own a home, but 76% think soon only the rich will be able to afford to own a home. Two in three think changes are needed to help would-be first-time homebuyers. And now in a January 2019 CHBA survey of its members, 95 percent of builders and developers are reporting that the stress test implemented last year is having a negative impact on their sales. The same survey showed a 33% drop, year-over-year, in sales to first-time home buyers.
“The combination of changing economic times and mortgage rule changes has really put would-be first time home buyers at a disadvantage. If implemented, CHBA’s recommendations, would make a big difference in the lives of thousands of young families and new Canadians across the country looking to secure their financial futures by accessing homeownership,” said Lee. “We are hopeful that parliamentarians will join us in our call to unlock the door to homeownership. We must work together to return Canada to a country where hard-working young families and new Canadians have a fair chance to realize their dream of homeownership.”
About the Canadian Home Builders’ Association
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is the voice of the residential construction industry in Canada, representing some 9,000 member firms across the country. Our membership spans new home builders, renovators, developers, trade contractors, building material manufacturers and suppliers, lenders, and other professionals in the housing sector.
Journalists wishing to interview Kevin Lee, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, are encouraged to submit their request by email or telephone to:
Director, Government Relations
(613) 230-3060 ext. 241, (613) 617-3657
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