Should house prices go down? The parties dodge the question.


Some Canadians are racking up record profits, but others feel left out.

As home ownership slips further and further out of the reach of many tenants, those lucky enough to have a deed with their name on it have seen their home’s value skyrocket in recent years.

So, while federal parties want to curb house prices for Canadians who wish to buy, there is an incentive to keep the gravy train running for homeowners, who are typically older, richer and more likely to lose money. vote as tenants. They are also more likely to inflate the country’s GDP, giving the ruling party the right to boast economically.

While they have carefully avoided spelling it out – with phrases like “making sure everyone can afford a place to call home” – the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP have largely dodged a central issue: should house prices go down?

QP Briefing asked each party if they think homeowners should take a hit on the value of their home for the sake of people looking to buy.

The NDP and the Conservatives have responded, but rather than answering the question, they have highlighted their platforms.

Parties come up with good ideas, said Paul Kershaw, a professor at the University of British Columbia, who also founded Generation Squeeze, which advocates for a fair cost of living for young Canadians.

But unless they make it clear that house prices should go down, the crisis won’t end, he said.

A compromise could keep house prices stable for now, while also putting in place measures that make the first home more affordable, Kershaw said.

“We will have to accept, at the very least, that house prices (will) have to stall, to restore affordability for all, because we have to give incomes (a chance) to catch up,” he said. .

Making housing affordable for ordinary Canadians will boost the economy as more people can stay in cities and spend their money on other things, Kershaw said.

Each side recognizes that lack of supply drives up house prices, and each offers a different way of dealing with it, but all imply that prices will drop when more units are added.

The Liberals promised: to give $ 4 billion to cities that build homes quickly; spend $ 600 million to convert empty offices and businesses into housing; and more than double the National Housing Co-Investment Fund to build more affordable housing. The overall target is 1.4 million homes “built, preserved or repaired” over four years.

The Conservatives promise to: build a million homes over three years with municipal incentives and developers; converting federal buildings into housing; and put in place a strategy for the construction of native houses.

The NDP says it will create 500,000 affordable housing units over 10 years using quick start funds for co-ops, social and non-profit housing and incentives for developers.

Speaking in the background, an NDP source said the party was “going after big developers” but did not mention the effect the party’s plan might have on existing owners.

The Conservatives also promised to ease mortgage stress testing requirements, and the NDP announced it would reintroduce 30-year mortgages insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Kershaw says he doesn’t blame parties for preying on young voters, but letting them borrow more will lead to more costly bidding wars, compounding the systemic problem.

He said federal leaders must be courageous.

“If neither party is willing to say, ‘Canadians: what do we want housing to provide us (in the future), for our economy in general – and (what do we want) the trade-off between affordability and a return on investment? ‘- we will not solve this problem,’ Kershaw said.

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