Deputy Prime Minister and Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland says the inability of young people in Canada to buy their own home is a “intergenerational injustice” that needs to be addressed.
Speaking in Montreal on Monday to promote last week’s federal budget, which includes several initiatives for first-time home buyers, Freeland suggested that housing is “today’s current economic challenge.”
“One of the things that worries me the most as someone who is, I’m shocked to say, 53 years old is the injustice between generations,” Freeland told reporters.
“We had better chances of buying a home and raising a family than young people do today, and we cannot have a Canada where the rising generation is excluded from the dream of home ownership.”
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Freeland said the “core problem” is a shortage of housing stock across the country. The budget, she said, aims to address that.
“We cannot have the fastest growing population in the G7 without also having the fastest growing housing stock,” she said.
The Liberal government plans to spend $10.14 billion on housing over the next five years, according to last week’s budget. The document includes plans to double the pace of housing construction in Canada over the next decade, provide support to those already struggling to build housing, and curb profiteering in the sector.
The budget also aims to introduce a new tax-exempt First Home Savings Account (TFFHSA) to help Canadians struggling to break into the housing market to save on the cost of a down payment.
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Real estate prospects could save $8,000 per year up to a maximum of $40,000 per person on their first home purchase.
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Many young Canadians have spoken out about the struggle to enter the real estate market as housing costs continue to rise. The average home price in Canada hit a new record of over $816,000 in February.
The budget projects Canada will need to build around 3.5 million by 2031 to improve affordability, and outlines plans to double the annual pace of construction in the country over the next decade from the current 200,000 units per year.
Interim Conservative Party leader Candice Bergen has criticized the federal government’s timetables for not helping Canadians looking to enter the housing market today.
“We’re seeing an announced housing program, in typically Liberal fashion, that will actually result in not a single house being built or a house being bought this year,” she told reporters after the budget was released on Thursday.
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The NDP has said the budget includes spending stimulus the party has been pushing, including $1.5 billion for building new affordable homes and $4.3 billion for new Indigenous housing.
The $1.5 billion will go to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s Rapid Housing Initiative. invested, which will be extended by two years.
But NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has still criticized the budget, saying it doesn’t go far enough.
Freeland said Monday the federal budget is “absolutely” geared towards building more homes across the country as quickly as possible.
“This will be your long-term answer to Canada’s housing unaffordability,” she said.
–With files of Craig Lord
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