The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is calling on the federal government to introduce a 30-year amortization period for insured mortgages on new homes. This recommendation, aimed at improving affordability and boosting construction, proposes to extend the mortgage period by five years beyond the current maximum.
According to CHBA CEO Kevin Lee, this change could attract more first-time homebuyers and motivate developers to increase the construction of new homes. Lee emphasized the challenge Canadians face in affording homes and securing mortgages that would enable purchases, noting the direct impact on builders’ ability to construct new homes.
“Canadians would love to buy homes. The problem is they can’t afford to buy homes and can’t access mortgages that would enable them to buy homes,” Lee said at a press conference on Thursday. “And if we don’t have people able to purchase, then builders aren’t able to go ahead and build those homes.”
The suggestion is part of a broader set of recommendations from the CHBA aimed at encouraging policy changes to support the housing sector. These recommendations include the introduction of an investment tax credit to foster productivity growth within the industry.
Housing expert Mike Moffatt expressed mixed feelings about the proposal for a longer mortgage period, cautioning that it might increase demand without tackling the fundamental issues of the housing shortage. However, Moffatt praised the idea of an investment tax credit, likening it to initiatives that have successfully stimulated the green economy.
Canada’s housing shortage has been exacerbated by strong population growth, leading to increased pressure on the government to solve the affordability issue. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. estimates that 5.8 million homes need to be constructed by 2030 to restore affordability.
The Liberal government, criticized for the housing and immigration crises, is exploring innovative solutions like modular homebuilding to increase productivity and construction speed.
Housing Minister Sean Fraser has indicated plans to launch a catalog of pre-approved home designs to expedite the permitting process and promote factory-built homes. Lee noted that while a quarter of homebuilders currently utilize factory-based construction, there is significant potential for growth in this area.
The federal government is currently working on a comprehensive housing plan but no word yet on when it will be released.
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