With less than three weeks now left to pass until election day, campaign rhetoric and promises are tumbling out of the various political war rooms at an increasingly frenzied rate. It can be tough for the average voter to keep up with where each party stands on everything from environmental issues to foreign policy, to taxation… and everything else in between. But, this being a real estate blog, I’m going to stick to my own area of expertise in attempting to break down (quickly and concisely) where each of our country’s major political parties stands on housing policy.

Before cracking into an overview of the various options being presented to Canadian voters this year, I should emphasize that this isn’t a proper substitute for conducting a more substantial review of each platform on your own time. You should feel good about casting an educated vote on September 20th, secure in the knowledge that your preferred candidate or party aligns with your own political outlook and aspirations for Canada’s future. Even spending just a couple of hours online can make all of the difference in this!

So, with that caveat behind us, let’s dive into the fundamental planks of each party’s housing plan in 2021.

Liberal Party of Canada: The single largest fundamental change to the way residential properties change hands in Canada today has been proposed by the Liberals – an end to the age-old practice of private blind bidding on homes. This is something I explored in-depth only last week, and I would encourage you to check out that detailed explanation here if you haven’t already. The Liberals also propose to guarantee the right of each buyer to conduct a home inspection before a transaction is finalized in law – regardless of what other conditions and clauses (or lack thereof) are in the offer already. The party has also pledged to restrict foreign non-residents from purchasing residential real estate in Canada for a minimum of two years, unless they can demonstrate that the purchase will be personally used for future employment or immigration within the next two years. Finally, the Liberals have expressed a commitment to constructing additional housing, with an emphasis on affordable urban projects.

Conservative Party of Canada: The Conservatives have committed to the construction of one million new homes across the country over the next three years, and like the Liberals, will move to restrict foreign speculation in our residential markets for two years. In terms of making ownership more accessible, Conservatives have pledged to introduce the option of longer mortgage amortization terms to buyers, in order to bring down monthly payments. In conjunction with this, they have also committed to re-examining the existing mortgage stress test with the goal of easing entry into the housing market for first-time buyers. First-time buyers would also benefit from additional tax incentives under the Conservative plan

New Democratic Party of Canada: The NDP have proposed instituting a nation-wide foreign buyer tax of 20% on all residential home purchases originating from overseas money. To increase the supply of affordable housing, they have also committed to the construction of 500,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years. Like the Conservatives, the NDP would also look to extend insured mortgage amortization terms from 25 years up to 30 years – bringing down the cost of the average monthly payment for Canadians. Finally, the NDP have pledged to double the existing home buyer’s tax credit to $1,500 to assist with closing costs.

Green Party of Canada: The Greens’ most ambitious proposal lies in the creation of an ‘empty-home tax’ – a proposal which would aim to make real estate speculation less of a contributing factor to rising housing costs in our country. They have also pledged to explore all options on restricting foreign buyers in our residential markets, as well as reviewing the first-time buyer credit to ensure that it can’t be mis-used to fuel real estate speculation.

People’s Party of Canada: While information on the PPC’s platform is limited with regard to the issue of affordable housing, individual candidates are on-record as attributing rising housing costs to decades of government mismanagement and interference in the private sector. By reducing taxation and cutting regulations, the PPC hopes to put more money back in the pockets of Canadians to assist with housing purchases, as well as enabling the home building industry to ramp up production to ease the current supply shortage.  

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