Housing hazards hit home?

The housing crisis in Canada for many citizens is very real. However, depending on where you live and your situation, the crisis may present very different challenges.

For tenants who have lost an affordable rental, it can be very hard to find a similar place at a price close to what they used to pay. Some people can’t stay in their current house because they’ve split up with a partner, spouse, or roommate, but they can’t find a cheaper place to move to. Some people, especially seniors on a fixed income, can’t afford their current home due to rising interest costs and living expenses. However, they can’t find anything more affordable.

This is a situation many homeowners face today. Some might not be in this situation yet, but they could be dealing with a future mortgage renewal. The higher monthly payment could make things difficult. Sometimes, adult children can’t find good or cheap housing nearby, so they still live at home. For everyone in these situations, it can be a very tough and stressful time.

Due to the current housing crisis, both the Federal Liberal and NDP Provincial governments have haphazardly introduced various housing policies and allocated substantial tax dollars to show they are “taking action” on this issue. I use the word “haphazardly” because these programs and funding often lack proper discussion and clear goals.

Is it working?  Sadly, no.  A recent report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said, “Supply isn’t expected to meet demand, which will lead to higher rents and fewer available homes in the future.” This report also said, “However, tough money lending situations may make it harder for homebuilders to begin new rental projects in 2024.” Clearly, high interest rates are causing issues for builders and developers too.

As a former Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver recently stated, and I quote directly: “A stable money supply is critical for economic stability. To cope with out-of- control government spending, the Bank of Canada expanded the money supply dramatically, pushing it to $3.6 trillion, 83 per cent more than when the Liberals took office. As a result, in 2022 inflation hit a 40-year peak of 6.8 per cent. Consumer prices are now 27 per cent higher than in 2015. Rising prices disproportionately affect low- and middle-income Canadians, who are also vulnerable to hikes in interest rates, including mortgage rates up 50 per cent from 2015. In aggregate, total mortgage payments could rise by as much as $4 billion this year.” 

I noticed a local news story this week. It said that in the City of Kelowna, the worth of building permits fell by nearly 30% in the first quarter. This is compared to the same time last year. Home construction in Kelowna dropped nearly 24% this quarter. This decrease matches the report from the CMHC that I mentioned earlier.

The purpose of my report this week is not to point out the failure of the current Provincial and Federal government approach but rather to ask an important question.

Are you or is someone in your family currently or expecting to be facing a housing challenge in 2024? If so, I would appreciate hearing more about your situation.

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.