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With the federal election campaign fully underway the major political parties are making housing promises to people who want to own homes. The policies include everything from tweaks to the mortgage stress test and crack-downs on foreign purchases to increasing housing supply and several brand new homeowner assistance programs. Let’s take a look at a summary of the policies from the major political parties:

The Liberals appear to be maintaining their housing plan from 2017 and the plan laid out in the 2021 federal budget. A Home for Everyone, is based on the premise that every Canadian deserves a place to call home.

  • Tweak the First-Time Homebuyer Incentive
  • Introduce a new Tax-free First Home Savings Account
  • Double the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Ban new foreign ownership
  • Reduce CMHC default insurance premiums by 25%
  • Increase the insured mortgage cut-off from $1million to $1.25million
  • Introduce a Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights
  • Introduce a Rent-to-Own program
  • Build/repair more affordable housing
  • Review the tax treatment of large corporate real estate owners
  • Introduce a Multi-generational Home Accelerator Fund
  • Establish an anti-flipping tax on residential properties’

The Conservatives appear to have taken direct aim at First Time Buyers.

  • Remove the requirement to conduct a stress test when a homeowner renews a mortgage with another lender
  • Increase the limit on mortgage insurance eligibility and index it to home price inflation
  • Adjust the mortgage stress test to ‘stop discriminating’ against small business owners, contractors and other non-permanent employees.
  • Promise not to tax Canadian’s capital gains on the sale of their principal residence
  • Increase housing supply by building one million homes over the next three years.
  • Encourage a new market in 7- to 10-year mortgages
  • Crack down on ‘corrupt activities’ that drive up home prices
  • Ban foreign investors not living in, or moving to Canada, from buying a home for two years and encourage foreign investment in affordable purpose-built rental housing.

The NDP plan centers on getting more housing.

  • Re-introduce 30-year amortizations on mortgages for entry-level homes for First Time Homebuyers that are insured by CMHC
  • Create at least 500,000 quality and affordable housing units, over the next 10 years
  • Introduce a national 20% Foreign Buyer’s Tax
  • Waive the federal portion of GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units
  • Double the current Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500
  • Provide resources to facilitate co-housing
  • Fight money laundering in the housing market

The Green Party has not released its 2021 platform, but instead plans to unveil its commitments in pieces throughout the campaign. Here are some priorities that have been posted on their website.

  • Declare a national housing and homelessness emergency and establish a national moratorium on evictions
  • Create a residential arrears assistance program.
  • Refocus the core mandate of the CMHC towards supporting development of affordable non-profit housing
  • Implement a retroactive residential tenant support benefit
  • Create a minister of housing, to oversee their policies

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