While the National Housing Strategy’s focus on rental housing has earned praise from real estate experts, observers argued the federal government should also look into making revisions that tackle the prevalence of investment housing.
Such changes that would shift the conversation to “homes first, investments second” are necessary if the Strategy is to make any significant impact on home prices, UBC professor Paul Kershaw told Metro Vancouver
“There’s a vacuum … around tax policy changes that need to be considered as we go forward,” Kershaw stated. “We have to start thinking about what we can do to moderate demand for housing and especially to minimize its demand as a vehicle for investment returns.”
University of Toronto professor David Hulchanski agreed, adding that the situation of Canadian millennials—which are already labouring under static wages and ever-growing home prices—merits further consideration.
“These people who are in these next generations now have difficulty accessing housing in the more expensive housing markets. So what are we going to do about that?” Hulchanski said.
“[The government] has to question basic parts of the housing system and I don’t think they’re willing do that.”
Further interventions by Ottawa would help greatly in the efforts to ensure better housing access for the Canadian consumer population, according to Penny Gurstein of the University of British Columbia.
“There has to be some way of the federal government inducing rental housing, and that was done before,” Gurstein said. “Now what we need are new, improved mechanisms to do that.”
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