With information from CREA.ca
This week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland tabled the second budget of the 44th parliamentary session, “A Made-in-Canada Plan”. This budget is heavily focused on measures to address the cost-of-living crisis, provide inflation relief, invest in public health care, and build Canada’s clean economy.
The budget followed an announcement of amendments to the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act, on Monday, March 27.
The announced amendments include:
As anticipated, “A Made-in-Canada Plan” reiterates existing housing measures and investments the government has previously announced and, while these investments are considerable, they’re not sufficient to address the current housing crisis. We’ll continue to advocate for solutions to address the urgent nature of the housing crisis, and the need for more housing supply across the entire continuum.
The following measures were included:
Building More Affordable Housing
The government intends to support the reallocation of funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund’s repair stream to its new construction stream, as needed, to boost the construction of new affordable homes for Canadians.
Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy
Budget 2023 proposes to commit an additional $4 billion to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to implement a co-developed Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.
Mortgage Lenders Code of Conduct
The federal government, through the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, is publishing a guideline to protect Canadians with mortgages who are facing exceptional circumstances. They intend to ensure that federally regulated financial institutions provide Canadians with fair and equitable access to relief measures that are appropriate for the circumstances they are facing. This includes extending amortizations, adjusting payment schedules, or authorizing lump-sum payments. Existing mortgage regulations may also allow lenders to provide a temporary mortgage amortization extension—even past 25 years.
Flood Insurance Program
The government proposes to provide $31.7 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to Public Safety Canada and CMHC to work with the Department of Finance Canada to create a low-cost flood insurance program, aimed at protecting households at high risk of flooding and without access to adequate insurance.
Raising Awareness of Flood Risks
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $15.3 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to Public Safety Canada to create a publicly accessible online portal where Canadians can access information on their exposure to flooding.
Financialization of Housing
The federal government reiterated their commitment to tackling the financialization of housing through existing measures, including the two-year ban on foreign investment in Canadian housing, the tax on underused foreign-owned homes, taxing assignment sales and making sure properties held for less than 12 months are taxed fully.
The government believes more could be done to ensure homes are affordable, which is why policy changes applicable to large corporate landlords could be considered to ensure affordability and fair treatment of tenants. They want to ensure that investor activity, especially among those who own a significant number of investment properties, is helping, not hurting, housing affordability and will review whether there’s a need to rebalance the housing market.
Equity in Housing
The government will consult on changes required to remove regulatory barriers for home buyers from diverse communities seeking access to alternative financing products.
Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights
The government remains committed to developing a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, stating they will work with provinces and territories to develop this plan.
Below are several initiatives that were reiterated in the budget, including:
As a result of collective lobbying efforts across the real estate industry, the attention the housing sector has received over the last few years is unprecedented. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done and we will continue to engage with the government on housing initiatives that impact our industry and members, ensuring REALTOR® positions are heard. We will also continue to work with other associations, and REALTORS®, to present a unified approach.