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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading the mandate letter here to try and understand the government action plan for housing. After reading this a few times I really don't understand the overall problem well enough and am looking for some input from this group. I think the statement "As Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, your overarching goal is to help ensure Canadians can get a home of their own, through work to improve housing affordability and end chronic homelessness...". Does that mean:
  • all Canadians should own a home, so the goal is a higher home ownership rate?
  • all Canadians should have access to affordable, high quality housing. So is the goal to reduce wait times for Social and Affordable Housing (SAH) and reduce homelessness?
  • increase the number of rental properties (privately and publicly owned) to drive down rents and create competition that would benefit renters?

My understanding is that approximately 70% of Canadian households own their home. That doesn't feel like an actual problem that needs fixing. On the other hand, according to this statscan research paper:
  • 10% of Canadian renter households are in SAH
  • almost 1/3 of Canadian households live in inadequate or un-affordable dwellings
  • 1/3 of renters in SAH live in dwellings that are substandard/inadequate
  • higher percentage of visible minorities in SAH

How will the government measure success? My concern is that the focus is entirely on schemes to increase private home ownership rates and nothing gets done for renters. It feels like we need a better balance of private, not for profit and public housing choices in Canada. What do you think?
 

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@prisoner24601 you are right. Unfortunately all the government is doing is increasing the demand on a very tight supply. It will squeeze some renters, mainly those renting at the low end of the scale. I think those who can afford to rent SFHs will not have much of an issue.But that is a guess.

Canada needs more development outside the core of city centers. (Yes this will drive the environmentalist crazy.) But we have more land and trees than nearly any other nation. There is absolutely no reason that housing in Canada is more expensive that housing in Texas for a similar home other than political constraints. Something has got to give.
 

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"Home" can be a 1 bedroom condo or even a 300 square foot with shared bathrooms. The era of a home being a single family home are dying. The vast majority of future homes will have shared walls, according to your government decision makers.

COVID has turned this trend upside down of course, because people want more space and they want bigger and private houses. But cities are not accommodating it, in fact they are actively fighting against it. Urban planning is a huge joke right now across the country as governments subsidize empty mass transit and millions of Canadians flee the cities as fast as they can find a place to live, pushing up housing prices to unseen levels at a crazy fast rate.

Not sure what the answer here is but I can tell you governments and people are not on the same side of reality. And without embracing what people want, people are going to do what they have always done - take matters into their own hand, and push outside current city boundaries. Prices are so high this is easy-peasy right now.
 

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Government should stand aside and let the free market rule.

Let interest rates rise, remove CMHC insurance that protects lenders. Let the lenders decide their acceptable risk levels and let the home prices rise or fall.

Of course, Canadians who own their homes may not be happy to watch their equity vanish as quickly as it appeared.
 

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Unfortunately all the government is doing is increasing the demand on a very tight supply.
That's really the problem, we've been underbuilding for DECADES.

We have a housing problem in London, they want to replace 8 houses with 259 units.
They'll put in 20 affordable units, and it's right on a bus line, walking distance from a college with 21k students at that campus.

This is repeated daily across the country.
As far as the sewer system argument, it needs to be upgraded anyway to handle intensification.

Also the comment on the rapid transit line, this is part of a plan to spend half a billion dollars on improving transit. Putting a few hundred bus customers on that new bus line makes a lot of sense.


It isn't a vote getter, but what really needs to happen is figuring out how to say YES to building more housing.
More detatched, more condos, more apartments. The money is there, the will is there, the problem is government getting in the say.
 

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Government should stand aside and let the free market rule.

Let interest rates rise, remove CMHC insurance that protects lenders. Let the lenders decide their acceptable risk levels and let the home prices rise or fall.

Of course, Canadians who own their homes may not be happy to watch their equity vanish as quickly as it appeared.
It is irrelevant.

I own 2 homes and I hope there is a crash.
How do higher home values help me?

It just makes it harder to upgrade my home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@prisoner24601 you are right. Unfortunately all the government is doing is increasing the demand on a very tight supply. It will squeeze some renters, mainly those renting at the low end of the scale. I think those who can afford to rent SFHs will not have much of an issue.But that is a guess.

Canada needs more development outside the core of city centers. (Yes this will drive the environmentalist crazy.) But we have more land and trees than nearly any other nation. There is absolutely no reason that housing in Canada is more expensive that housing in Texas for a similar home other than political constraints. Something has got to give.
Yes, it's about planning. For example after the second world war the UK built many new towns to accommodate displaced populations from cities. Essentially they were planned communities and over the years industries have grown up around these towns. More recently, there is even talk about making some new eco-towns using a similar model.

Even within cities, a better job could be done with social housing. I recall reading about a city in Switzerland that has high end apartments (condos) where 70% is rent controlled and affordable public housing mixed with 30% private. All modern and nice and the same quality throughout. So you have a mix of middle income people living in the same complex as lower income families. Seems like a good idea but I've never heard of that model in a Canadian city.

Maybe we'll hear about some of these ideas for Canada but I doubt it. With the amount of money being spent we should get some of the best thinkers on this.
 

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Yes, it's about planning. For example after the second world war the UK built many new towns to accommodate displaced populations from cities. Essentially they were planned communities and over the years industries have grown up around these towns. More recently, there is even talk about making some new eco-towns using a similar model.

Even within cities, a better job could be done with social housing. I recall reading about a city in Switzerland that has high end apartments (condos) where 70% is rent controlled and affordable public housing mixed with 30% private. All modern and nice and the same quality throughout. So you have a mix of middle income people living in the same complex as lower income families. Seems like a good idea but I've never heard of that model in a Canadian city.

Maybe we'll hear about some of these ideas for Canada but I doubt it. With the amount of money being spent we should get some of the best thinkers on this.
All we need to do is address the shortage.
The reason prices are so high is because we're supply constrained.

There is no reason for social housing, get rid of rent control, collect rent deposits and let them build apartments.
 

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My understanding is that approximately 70% of Canadian households own their home. That doesn't feel like an actual problem that needs fixing.
That number is a bit misleading. Approximately 70% (actually 68.55%) of Canadians live in an owner-occupied household, so that includes adult children living with their parents, as well other relatives not on title. Only 48% of 25-35 year-olds own their home, and I believe that much of those purchases were facilitated by gifted money and record low interest rates. I expect that percentage to drop further in the coming years as Gen-Z reaches their home-buying years, but struggle to get into the market against a backdrop of rising interest rates.
 

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Maybe what we've always done around city building isn't what we should be doing? Here in edmonton (or nearly anywhere similar that's flat and uninterrupted by geographical limitations for expansion) we're playing the game of developers gone wild with people "getting what they want": homes from the low 300's, minutes to downtown and so on.

On the one hand this is getting people the homes they "deserve" and with the looks they want but it's a city killer. We're growing commute times, creating all the problems that entails health wise, and increasing the demand on roads that were never meant for the volume. On top of that we're starving out businesses and municipal resources in the core areas as the population spreads out, all while the new build residents demand better snow clearing, new schools, new rec centers, and new emergency services. Ironically as the local council votes prove out, the main issues the residents out there want is flatlined or decreasing property taxes. How can cities support endless expansion of the services and the real burden of never ending road maintenance if they're never allowed to increase property taxes even to keep up with inflation?

I know people like to point to bike lanes, public art, and of course transit projects as things to axe for city budgets but that's so near sighted. Think of the cities you like to visit and I bet it's not a mesmerizing labyrinth of highways and overpasses tunneling right to the downtown core? It's probably more likely that it's quiet, traffic calmed, has busy walkable shopping districts, great transit options, and you see people out walking as part of their daily lives. Cities are designing for this despite the anti crowd (don't let the door hit you mike nickel!) but it will take time, and persistence. I think the population locally for me is seeing this already and our mayoral votes for both Edmonton and Calgary are reinforcing the general support for the current direction.

I know it's a tangent from the discussion but to me all this goes hand in hand with housing affordability talk. I live in a very cheap housing city (avg ~$450k sfh), maybe one of the cheapest biggest cities, with some of the highest avg household incomes to boot in the country. Even with those two things, the very regular existence here is very expensive for my peers who are probably similar to us, making mortgage payments, and paying for daycare. My wife and I do just fine but crucially for us neither of us drive to work. We do drive, and when we do it's our great little $8k vehicle for the family, so no car payments, no weekly fuel purchases, no parking costs, no insurance etc. That choice for both our physical and mental health also gives us our wiggle room financially as well.

I look around and see new cars everywhere, and wonder how people make it work, the cynic in me says zero savings, and rough personal finances, but maybe I'm wrong. I assume new cars and car commuting's at least a $500/mo $6k per year commitment, double that for a 2 car commute house and yikes, there's $12k per year, and $120k in a decade gone. It's probably no coincidence that a lot of people on CMF are careful in their car spending and have bloated investment accounts.

So I think at least part of the answer to housing affordability is to continuing to create more ways for cities to prosper and to reduce our dependence on car commuting. Long term it's win-win for the city and the residents.
 

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Mandate letters are kinda like press releases in sheep's clothing.

Telegraph to the populace what you are allegedly directing the minister to do.

Trick is there is never a budget amount allocated like in the private sector.

Like do this for x millions, or do preliminary study to cost budget the job, and report back to see if we give it the go ahead once you have a budgetary cost tabled for consideration. .

Really it does not do much more than stir up discussion like is going on up thread.

So so far the political ploy is playing out exactly how the author of this 'mandate letter' meant the process to take.
 

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The problem with housing is that the 'plan' is incoherent.

The goal is one thing, and then list of actions to be taken is completely counter-productive to achieving that goal.
The Liberal plan to rising housing prices is to increase demand......
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That number is a bit misleading. Approximately 70% (actually 68.55%) of Canadians live in an owner-occupied household, so that includes adult children living with their parents, as well other relatives not on title. Only 48% of 25-35 year-olds own their home, and I believe that much of those purchases were facilitated by gifted money and record low interest rates. I expect that percentage to drop further in the coming years as Gen-Z reaches their home-buying years, but struggle to get into the market against a backdrop of rising interest rates.
Thanks for the clarifications, they make sense. I still don't see how it is a problem that only 48% of 25-35 year olds own their own home now and that will be going lower for Gen-Z. Isn't that demographic the ones that create demand or the rental market? It seems weird to me that as the world world moves to XaaS (everything as a service) the younger generations want to bother with owning and maintaining lifestyle assets instead of just consuming what they need in the way of housing, transportation and recreation. Back to the point of the original post, if the government could waive a magic wand and increase home ownership for younger Canadians to 80%+ would that actually solve the problem or make things worse? I just don't know.
 

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Housing is a very complex subject. There are too many issues that revolve around it and you can't really fix one issue without impacting another. People will always find ways to circumvent the regulations. This will always be perceived as a problem which society blames the government for allowing it.
 

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Government should stand aside and let the free market rule.

Let interest rates rise, remove CMHC insurance that protects lenders. Let the lenders decide their acceptable risk levels and let the home prices rise or fall.

Of course, Canadians who own their homes may not be happy to watch their equity vanish as quickly as it appeared.
From all the "Likes" you can see that many of us would love this to happen... but I fear it won't happen.
 
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