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I’ve only touched on the cost of housing briefly in past opinion columns, but I feel the time has come to explore this subject further.
Canada has a housing crisis and governments at all levels aren’t helping. The so-called ‘Stress Test’ imposed by the federal government back in June of 2021 has further exasperated the crisis by limiting Canadians ability to enter home ownership. Believe it or not, Canada needs to build 3.5 million more homes over and above the 2.3 million we would normally build in the next ten years to house Canadians and address affordability.
One might suggest that these measures were needed to ensure people weren’t ‘getting in over their heads’ with mortgage payments. Certainly, there were some who were stretching what they could afford. But others may argue that if the Liberal government’s out-of-control spending was balanced and if taxes weren’t increased, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Mortgage brokers, banks and housing organizations across the country riled against this policy from day one, to no avail. The government, which was elected to represent Canadians wasn’t — and still isn’t — listening. The vast majority of Canadians still prefer home ownership to renting and this policy does nothing more than prolong or even deflate Canadians hope of ever owning their home. And, with less movement of first-time home buyers, rent prices have already began to creep up creating another crisis.
So, what are some solutions besides the elimination of this dreaded policy?
First, interest rates should be lowered as soon as possible.
Secondly, a return to 30-year amortization periods for all buyers.
Third, increase the home price upper limit for insured mortgages by regional markets.
Fourth, drop the GST on new homes.
These are solid solutions from various industry groups which continue to pressure the Liberal government for change, but to no avail.
But one solution that seems to have been overlooked is how credit unions can enhance mortgage approvals, while bypassing the burdensome CMHC stress test. In this ever-changing financial landscape, it’s crucial to explore alternative avenues that empower individuals to achieve their dreams of homeownership without more unnecessary hurdles.
So, let’s dive in and discover how credit unions can play a pivotal role in transforming the mortgage landscape.