Report from Parliament Hill
Making housing more affordable for Northerners
Bob Nault, MP, Kenora Riding
Northerners and their families deserve a safe and affordable place to call home where they can thrive. Children need a place to grow, learn, and have stability, as well as the opportunities they need to succeed. It is also important to ensure that affordable homes are available for those looking to become first-time homeowners.
The National Housing Strategy (NHS) is designed to address the housing needs of Canadians – from emergency shelter and supportive housing to affordable rental properties and homeownership. Today, approximately 30% of Canadians are living in a home they are renting. Because the rental market is an important housing option, one of the goals of the NHS is to increase the number of new housing units by 100,000, and repair another 300,000 units. This strategy will reduce or eliminate housing need for 530,000 households and reduce chronic homelessness by 50% by 2028.
The Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), is a National Housing Strategy initiative managed by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The RCFi will offer low-cost loans to encourage the construction of new rental housing to address the needs of modest- and middle-income households struggling in expensive housing markets in both rural and urban areas.
Launched in April 2017, the RCFi has generated a lot of interest and a high number of applications. This is why the Government has increased the amount for low-cost loans from $2.5 billion to $3.75 billion. This initiative alone is projected to stimulate the construction of more than 14,000 new rental housing units across Canada.
As part of the overall Strategy, CMHC is also exploring various options for improving housing affordability and addressing service gaps for Canadians. For example, changes to existing insurance products were made in 2018 to provide better access to affordable homeownership for Canadians who are self-employed.
In 2017, CMHC provided mortgage loan insurance for more than 250,000 homes of which 65% supported new home buyers, and insured close to 120,000 rental units during the year. Mortgage loan insurance will continue to increase affordability for homebuyers by enabling them to obtain financing at potentially lower interest rates, which results in lower mortgage payments with a smaller down payment. I am pleased to see that CMHC will continue to play a key role in offering products, programs and services to help restore balance in the housing by providing more access to affordable housing for all Canadians.
Whether you are a home owner, a renter, or a first-time home buyer, it is important that there are safe, affordable options available. In next week’s column, I want to highlight the positive impacts these programs have had on the Kenora riding.
I believe that having a place you can call home provides families with the security they need to build a happy and prosperous life.