Canada's housing plan 'missed the mark' on first-time buyer aid – RESCON

Industry voices express concern over the budget's failure to address the needs of first-time homebuyers

Canada's housing plan 'missed the mark' on first-time buyer aid – RESCON

Canada’s housing plan, with its focus on boosting supply, has drawn a range of reactions from industry experts.

While many praise the federal government’s plan, there is growing concern about the lack of immediate measures to address the affordability challenges faced by first-time homebuyers.

Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), praised the government's efforts to enhance the supply of purpose-built rental housing.

“We commend the federal government for seriously trying. There are positive measures here to assist purpose-built rental housing supply. That much is encouraging,” Lyall said in a statement.

However, Lyall said the budget lacks support for first-time homebuyers who have been shut out of the market.

“They are being taxed on new housing at rates which would have crushed their parents and grandparents,” he said. “Why are we doing that to them? Housing is a vital need, and we are taxing it like alcohol and cigarettes. The cost of housing used to be three times the average household income, but now it’s 10 times.”

Taxes, fees, and levies currently make up 31% of the cost of a new home, according to a study by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis. With the average home price in Canada standing at $741,000, a household must earn at least $195,000 to qualify for a mortgage.

The disparity between income growth and housing costs continues to widen, making it increasingly difficult for buyers, especially first-timers.

RESCON also noted that many young people are moving away from cities in search of more affordable living options due to the high costs.

While the budget includes positive measures, such as increasing the capital cost allowance rate for apartments and commitments regarding activating Crown land for housing, Lyall believes the government has "missed the mark" in supporting first-time homebuyers.

“The government’s failure to take solid steps to help first-time homebuyers is short-sighted and self-defeating in terms of meeting the challenge of the housing affordability and supply crisis,” he said.

“To ensure the health of our economy, we must do more to help these homebuyers get a foothold in the market. The budget missed the mark on that front. We must help young Canadians who want to buy their first home. They are the future of this country.”

Read more: Real estate industry reacts to Trudeau's 2024 housing plan

Julia Deans, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada, agreed, “At Habitat for Humanity, we see first-hand how stable and affordable housing transforms lives across generations. Canada’s housing plan presents an excellent opportunity to truly come together and build the Canada we want, one where every family has the opportunity to own a home and create a secure and prosperous future for themselves and their family. We look forward to working with our partners, including all orders of government, to achieve this goal.”

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