Well here we go again. We are back to the election polls on October 19, 2015 to decide our new leader.
As a mortgage broker in Hamilton, Ontario I am always keen to know what each leader has as their housing platform, since it affects us all. Low mortgage rates have had an incredible affect on home prices and housing has been a major election issue.
Let’s start with our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. He has promised that if he is re-elected he would want to increase RRSP limits for first time home buyers from $25,000 to $35,000. This would start in the 2017-2018 calendar year. His other election guarantee is that a tax credit would be available for all Canadian families for home renovations costing between $1000 and $5000.
Thomas Mulcair, the NDP leader recently suggested a housing crash could be imminent. His focus would support programs for affordable housing and housing co-operatives. His idea is to provide capital gains for developers who are able to provide dwellings for social housing.
Our Liberal candidate, Justin Trudeau has similar views to Mr. Mulcair. His intention is to provide $125 million in tax breaks for developers in order to boost affordable style housing. Trudeau also wants to offer new ways to use RRSP’s to finance the purchase of a home if:
They have to move to work
If they have to take in an elderly relative
After the death of a spouse
Let’s take a look at who this will benefit. I have written on many of these same ideas in other past articles.
The housing platform from Mr. Harper is the most intriguing. Wasn’t this the same party that tightened all the mortgage rules under Jim Flaherty because housing prices had increased so much? Hamilton just had record prices in July. The fact that he is considering higher RRSP limits and tax credits tell me the economy is in poor shape.
With record low interest rates, home prices have escalated, unfortunately so has rents for renters. Hamilton is the fifth least affordable city for purchasers for actual Hamiltonians. Higher prices have led developers to concentrate on single family homes. We do need to create a national housing program or we will face a crisis in the near future. The NDP and Liberals are just in keeping their focus on affordable housing. Keep these ideas in your thoughts as you consider who to vote for.