A recent survey by Leger, commissioned by Re/Max Canada, found that 85 per cent of Canadians believe there is currently a housing affordability crisis and 55 per cent of Canadians say that the most important aspect of a national housing strategy is to include more supply and affordable housing options.

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Elton Ash, regional EVP of Re/Max of Western Canada, says the lack of housing inventory in Canada is getting worse. “The near-term future is it’s going to continue being a supply shortage and prices will continue to escalate,” he says.

“Canadians are concerned and they rightly should be,” he says. “There needs to be a strategy placed before Canadians by the parties running for government and that strategy has to include several things, because it’s not just a federal government issue. All levels of government have to be involved, but the federal government has to take a leadership role.

“During this election the parties need to be exhibiting what that leadership role should be rather than simply vying for votes and attacking foreign buyers, for example,” says Ash. “The survey showed that the majority of Canadians see foreign buyers as negatively influencing home prices in Canada and yet the reality is that they’re an extremely small segment of the entire market. So why do Canadians think that? Well, it’s because that’s what the parties say. It gets votes. Rather than really trying to get to the difficult heart of the matter, which is looking at supply issues.”

Re/Max is calling for the newly appointed federal government to lead a collaborative national housing strategy across all levels of government.

The Re/Max  survey also found:

  • 73 per cent of Canadians believe home ownership is one of the best investments and 34 per cent say they wish they were able to afford a home;
  • 79 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the state of Canada’s housing market with rising prices and little affordability; and
  • Canadians believe the top five reasons for the current state of the housing market are: too many foreign buyers (48 per cent); lack of income/wage increases (40 per cent); lack of housing supply (36 per cent); blind bidding (26 per cent) and lack of government strategy/policy (25 per cent).

Ash says there have simply not been enough new homes built in recent years across the country to keep pace with the demand.

“When I talk about leadership, it’s for the federal government to really take a role in bringing all three levels of government together. Canadian governments are famous for Royal Commissions and that’s not what we’re asking for,” he says. “We are asking for a thoughtful process being put in place.

“What the federal government could certainly be doing is incentivizing development of land, providing as an example federal tax breaks. To get more supply, you need land developed. The provincial governments can then get involved in assisting as well and the municipal governments with zoning and red tape . . . You have to have a long-term strategy. So there has to be this understanding of working together from a long-term point of view.”

The consequences of not acting now on this issue, says Ash, will be continued uncertainty as to where this housing market is headed.

“The good news, putting the election aside, is we are into the seasonal, what we might say is a historically normal market and everything is cyclical . . . The issue of nothing being done is that this cycle will continue and that we have to have a long-term strategy in place just to give confidence to Canadians that their elected officials at all levels of government are aware and are acting as they should to address affordability and housing supply,” he says.

In another recent survey by Royal LePage Canada, 84 per cent of respondents said they are concerned that, with rising home prices, an increasing number of Canadians will never be homeowners; that number is even higher among those who say a candidate’s position on housing affordability will influence their vote (96 per cent.).

The survey also found that 57 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 say a candidate’s position on tackling housing affordability will influence their vote in the upcoming federal election (40 per cent overall) and 47 per cent of Canadians with children in their household say a candidate’s position on tackling housing affordability will influence their vote, compared to 38 per cent of those without children in the home.

16 COMMENTS

  1. “The survey showed that the majority of Canadians see foreign buyers as negatively influencing home prices in Canada and yet the reality is that they’re an extremely small segment of the entire market. ”

    Yes, true.
    In my experience, homeowners are buying a 2nd or 3rd property for their investment portfolio.
    Simply check out new home developments, and I would guess 1/3 of the buyers are investors living in Canada.

  2. If prices are too high why are homes selling with multi offers in days? Its not an afford ability problem.
    We have a lot of buyers (many are public sector workers) that make a ton of money in secure jobs that qualify for a lot of house with the current low rates. Very few none residence people are buying. There is some investors and that’s a good thing as a lot of the ones I have worked with have zero pension and will need real estate to retire. (Unless they tax this to death)
    There has always been people that found it difficult to buy a house for many reasons, some reasons are out of there control, but a lot can not buy because they are not carful on how they spend their money.
    If you want to buy your own place and on your current income can’t afford to buy a house in the low price ranges. Maybe you need to change your source of income, find away to make more money. Lots of businesses looking for workers in high paying jobs. Don’t have the skills for one of those jobs, Get them!
    Does every one in the house need a cell phone. Did you think it might be a good idea to buy a house before that new truck. Do you need to eat out most meals. Do you need all the internet, netflix etc that add to your monthly expenses. People have so much junk and un-necessary stuff they buy. Saving up and buying a house was never easy. Make it priority for yourself and quit telling others to make it their priority to make it easy for you.

    Life is tough get your priorities straight.

    Buy the way the real estate market does change just like the weather. Get yourself ready to buy when everyone is selling and not so much buying. Prices are unlikely to go down but might. They definitely seem to be level off in a lot of areas as we enter a market shift.
    We do have way too expensive and way too much Government. I don’t think that will ever change.
    So figure things out for yourself. The Government is not coming to help you

    • Terry:

      I agree completely.

      We now live in an entitlement society. Democracies always drift into entitlement-rich cultures once they become able to afford same…until the seemingly bottomless well of tax dollars eventually runs dry.

      Takers have always outnumbered makers, but these days the ratio is rapidly widening.

      Dealing positively with adversity makes one stronger.

      Expecting and receiving unearned entitlements makes one weaker.

      Like a religious cult’s pull, government promises of financial salvation—for votes—attracts the weak to the altar of submission, and one’s subservient ass is owned by the cult leaders ’til hell freezes over, then melts again. It’s a cycle repeated over and over throughout history at the hands of religious cult leaders and political parties of all stripes. The goal is always the same: money, power, and control over their followers. Dyed-in-the-wool loyalty to one’s master is the problem, especially when one’s master is not what one has been led to believe he/she/it is…which is most always the case.

      Wannabe leaders: Don’t’cha just love ’em?

      Beware the pitch: “Hi! I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you!”

  3. This article is really only talking about, “ the statistics confirmed it, it’s a big problem “. But how do we make it more affordable? The average price has run away from buyers at a much faster pace than their incomes can bear. Evens rents are staggering. If prices were half of what they are they couldn’t afford to buy ( and I don’t think any of us wants the government to cool it down that much ie increasing interest rates = people losing homes). For some people, they wouldn’t be able to afford the high cost of building materials if someone gave them the land to build on. Prices are not going to come into their range anytime soon, if ever. So what will work ? Higher incomes, maybe. Forgivable grants? Programs for first time buyers for downpayments, lower interest rates ( already crazy low ). But seriously, what are your thoughts on what will fix this ? Or maybe nothing will ? Would love to hear your thoughts.

  4. too many foreign buyers ! If you don’t reside in Canada you should not be allowed to buy our real estate period!

    Young Canadian people can no longer have the dream of buying their very own home!

  5. Gov’t and the media for years have blamed foreign buying on the issue of housing affordability and are now electioneering for a 2 year moratorium on foreign buying. What’s interesting to note is we have just gone through an 18 month moratorium on foreign buying due to Covid travel restrictions and my local market has seen a 34% increase in sales activity and a corresponding 15% increase in the Housing Price Index, all due to local buying. So I agree, the affordability problem is due to a lack of supply, re-zoning issues and an arduous and overly expensive Gov’t permitting process.

  6. The red tape in getting developments ready to get permits to build takes too long. Speed up the process and as these proposed lands for developments get permits and eventual occupancy you will see prices soften. Supply and demand. Not government involvement with handouts or taxes on whatever they can think off. Does anyone agree?

    • As water seeks its own level, so the market resembles a logo used for legal scales. The balancing of all things big and small, often referred to as supply and demand.

      You can’t force a square peg into a round hole. WHO is to control our industry either from inside or outside and or by the government… any government.

      As water seeks its own level, nature takes care of its own. The market will shift and balance as it always has done, regardless of what agents say or do.

      The current discussion about knowing what other offer amounts are is outrageous, and will change nothing. Left alone the market, like water, will seek its own level and those who fell for the baloney will reap the appropriate rewards, or not.

      It’s hard to read such unprofessional chatter among industry specialists who surely understand nothing they say or do is going to control or change the market. Some just speak nonsense and foolishness, and the public falls for it, making fodder for the press and only succeeding in confusing the public even more, especially when much of the chatter comes from agents who have been practicing for decades.

      Carolyne L 🍁

    • Hi Carl:

      Yesiree Bob: We live in a supposed Capitalist system, which supposedly has its elected government policymakers legislate economic policies according to, and in concert with, the laws of supply and demand, not to control supply and demand of any product, but to augment the first rule of economics 101, being to let the free market flourish.

      A socialist/Marxist economic system is a top-down command system whereby unelected government types—bureaucrats—dictate economic policies to the here-today-gone-tomorrow elected leftist political party members with the intent to control who gets what, when and, where…for votes. It’s the old carrot on the string (hanging from the stick wielded by the hands of the cart driver) thrust just out of reach of the plodding donkey reward syndrome.

      We’re being run by experts these days who have no skin in any games. These experts know all about the ups and downs on charts and graphs, but next to nothing about human nature, so they want to control it. It’s uncontrollable. Unfortunately, the expert bureaucrats are there forever, watching and manipulating as the elected politicians come and go. To that end we have been asleep at the wheel, allowing our education systems to devolve into Marxist dominated indoctrination vehicles producing compliant graduates of the most know-it-all kind of “We know what’s best for ya’ll” thought dictators. Sound rather harsh? Stay tuned. Free-thinking, critical-thinking “I want to do things for myself” types are becoming a breed of the past.

      That’s my long answer to your question.

      Short answer? Damn right!

      BTW: We have a Marxist-leaning, bureaucratically-minded, part-time, substitute drama-teacher “expert” (poorly practicing his craft) man-child in power right now who called a Federal election for personal reasons…being to further inflate his already over-inflated undeserved Turdeau ego. Voters who believe in Democracy and Capitalsim: Drop-kick his sorry ass to where it Trudeauly belongs, firmly planted in the backed-up toilet of failed dung-gobber, elitist, undigested left-overs… and then flush it, again and again, ’til it’s clean.

      Remember, elections are most often reflective of who the electorate wants to get rid of vs who it wants to be elected.

        • Thanks Tim.

          I self-edited the hell out of my response to Carl’s question. I have a pretty good read on what Jim the-editor-guy will allow these days. My description of the man-child as having a “Turdeau” ego could easily have been a typo. Jim won’t allow personal attacks, but a “Turdeau” isn’t necessarily a person. A “Turdeau” just might have an ego unworthy of my target’s namesake.

          By the way, it was nice to see Carl Oake chiming in on this subject. Can you imagine that he actually hired me in 2008 to join his brokerage at Century 21 in Peterborough? What was he thinking?

          Carl: What the hell were you thinking, man?

  7. The article says that it is not immigrants causing the housing shortage and the consequential inflation of prices. Well then it must be all the children that Canadian born parents have been having over the past 50 years. NOT!

    • In an old news report, in part:

      https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/fact-check-do-refugees-get-more-financial-help-than-canadian-pensioners-1.2670735

      (Apparently this part is fact. And on top of that, extra money per child on top??? Can anyone verify?)
      ===
      “The federal government is debunking claims that refugees receive nearly $2,500 in monthly assistance – more than the maximum amount Old Age Pension recipients can collect.” ? (Copied and pasted within.)
      ===

      It is apparently affecting the real estate market due to needs being fulfilled for their housing.

      ===
      I love everybody, well, mostly… it’s not the emigrating immigrants that are the problem relative to housing. It’s how the system in Canada that drives the housing issue: actual tax-free cash in opened bank account, free housing, free medical and dental and eye care, free transportation and often free education as in English as a second language. The immigrant children are often much better educated already years ahead of our own children if truth were told and sometimes are multi-lingual making them eventually good job candidates.

      All this “free in the new-world” when those already born here, seniors in particular suffer living on minimal dollars and none of the above free-benefits not even being able to have free dental work done; and, no it’s not true that prescription drugs are free to our own seniors after age 65.

      The largest number of prescribed medications fall outside the government “list.” A very misleading system, in particular for heart and stroke victims and patients requiring cancer care and life-threatening allergies; likely the topic list can easily be expanded and yet immigrants receiving free such meds and care; what about our seniors and those born here?

      As to housing in particular the free housing has to come from somewhere. Don’t hear anyone addressing housing from this perspective. Years ago I read that condo buildings and hotels had to dedicate a fixed number of units paid for by the government to provide free housing for immigrants. I don’t know if that currently applies.

      I don’t begrudge our supporting the immigrant population; never. But not at the expense of our existing population, born here, aged seniors and or immigrants, already established here, working hard and sending money home to bring their families to live in the Canadian-free-way. Much truly is free; but who really pays for it all.

      Not the government. It all comes from government officialdom allocated using tax monies while people born here have no jobs, no food, and no rent money. No talk about our own existing population will ever own a house. But the immigrants often are careful money managers and within a couple of years proudly are homeowners driving a Mercedes. Things our own people will never have. Largely due to the wonderful free help provided upon arrival in the new land of plenty.

      We are mostly givers and that’s a good thing. But we don’t support our own people who barely get by month to month or not at all, living in shelters with minimal or no health care. Overseas people don’t believe how we (don’t) treat our own people, particularly seniors. This topic is not taught in our schools.

      Carolyne L 🍁

      === (and…)

      Regardless if they are refugees, apparently whatever version of immigrant, or how they get here, allegedly they are treated better than existing residents (regardless of race), people born here of historical generations who can’t find a place to live, much less for free, or even finding an employment source.

      ===

      Back in the 80’s the word in the industry was that in hotels and rental condo buildings one whole floor had to be dedicated (with govt paying the rent) for immigrants until they got settled, and for refugees. I don’t remember the details anymore. Perhaps a REM reader might recall. Maybe it applied only in Ontario.

  8. I agree, this shortage of housing is a unifying issue and almost everyone can get behind creating more housing through the private and public sector. Yet any new supply is not making it’s full impact as many full time residences are now being “converted” to short to medium term rental homes including single family, townhouse and apt condos. This drain on the supply for families , 1st time buyers, empty nesters and those looking to retire are all facing less supply because people are monitising our full time living housing inventory into short medium term rentals. That huge “leak” from the inventory needs to be fixed in concert with any public and private investment of money and land.

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