Is lack of housing supply putting homeownership out of reach for millions of Canadians?

Housing prices are high because of a lack of supply; yet millions of Canadians still rank homeownership as a top life goal. Increasing housing supply would make homeownership more accessible for Canadians.

Here are some recommendations from the Canadian Real Estate Assossiation:

Housing Supply and Infrastructure:
Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents of any G7 country. Supply can’t keep up with population growth. To tackle the supply issue, the federal government needs to ensure adequate housing opportunities are available for Canadians across the housing spectrum. They can work toward this goal by adding housing clauses to Infrastructure Bilateral Agreements between Infrastructure Canada and provincial and territorial partners. 

Good infrastructure is crucial to addressing the shortage of housing supply while simultaneously improving the quality of life for all Canadians. Increasing development will help Canada close the gap, building enough homes to adjust to our growing population, and help build more thriving, sustainable and inclusive communities.

The implementation of Infrastructure Bilateral Agreements would:

  • encourage creation of more housing supply;
  • encourage a more balanced, fair, and sustainable approach to planning – recognizing the full continuum of housing that exists in Canada;
  • incentivize provinces, territories, and municipalities to raise population density or expedite approval processes - with grants and future funding opportunities;
  • encourage the review of properties that have potential to be turned into housing units; and
  • provide incentives and build capacity of local authorities.

National Housing Roundtable:

Canada’s housing challenge is a national problem that demands a national solution. All levels of government need to work together to keep the goal of homeownership within reach—particularly for young and new Canadians. The federal government should establish a permanent national housing roundtable bringing together the federal, provincial, and municipal governments along with builders, real estate professionals and civil society organizations. 

The national housing roundtable would be an opportunity to:

  • help identify and solve challenges related to social and affordable housing;
  • prioritize the development of processes to help reduce red tape;
  • work with Statistics Canada to determine the size and scale of the housing shortage in Canada;
  • encourage research and innovation in planning and building – such as offsite construction using robotics; and
  • promote and empower industry and Canadians to help meet the national greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and make energy-efficient improvements to their homes.

Affordability and Debt Reduction:

For many Canadians, homeownership is out of reach. Lack of housing supply is the root issue, but there are measures that can help make owning a home more affordable. The federal government needs to provide first-time homeowners with increased incentives and ability to borrow to fund home purchases. 

More support needs to be offered to young Canadians, providing first-time home buyers ample opportunity to enter the housing market while still saving and investing for their futures.

  • increase the RRSP withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $50,000 to better align with current rising costs; and
  • reintroduce the 30-year amortization for insured mortgages to assist first-time home buyers.
Every Canadian deserves the opportunity to live in a home they can afford. By working together we can build a national, holistic approach to create more housing options and ensure Canada remains a fair and equitable place to live for all Canadians.