Candidates often talk about affordable housing in the context of rental housing, not home ownership, but both should be part of the discussion, says Kaye Broens, 2019 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board President.

Is home ownership on the Island an election issue?

Are housing prices and the tight local real estate market an election issue for you?

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board thinks it should be.

“Often when candidates at the federal and provincial level talk about affordable housing, they talk about rental housing, not home ownership, but both should be part of the discussion,” says Kaye Broens, 2019 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board President.

While recent government measures have cooled some of the larger housing markets like Victoria, other Island communities remain a concern. “It’s not helping people buy houses,” Broens says, pointing to a US study that emphasized that often, real estate – owning their own home – is how people build wealth.

In fact, September numbers showed housing sales were down 16 per cent from August and prices had climbed four per cent.

Here’s a look at 5 steps that would help:

1. Increased Housing Supply – The Island’s housing stock remains low, which keeps prices high and out of reach of many first-time buyers. Adding more homes will help keep prices more manageable, Broens says. “Make it easier for developers to build houses.”

2. Reform the Mortgage Stress Test – Have you been sidelined by Guideline B-20, the government’s mortgage stress test? You’re not alone. Canadians in many markets – including Vancouver Island – are forced to save more, over a longer period of time, or buy a less-expensive home. At the same time, markets continue to struggle and are not adjusting to the policy change, says VIREB president-elect Kevin Reid.

3. Reform First-time Buyers’ Tax Credit – Originally designed to help first-time buyers cover some of those “hidden costs” of buying a home, like lawyers fees and home inspections, the program hasn’t been updated since it was introduced in 2009, while costs associated with buying a home have continued to rise. VIREB would like to see the that tax credit increase to $2,500 from the current $750, and see the definition of first-time buyer expanded.

4. Reintroduce 30-year amortization – The reintroduction of the 30-year mortgage amortization would also help buyers get into the market. “It stretches your mortgage over a longer time frame but you have lower monthly payments, which helps younger people,” Broens explains.

5. Modernize lending practices – It’s important to recognize that not everyone has a 9 to 5 government job any more. Whether it’s accommodating home-based business income, seasonal employment or any non-traditional revenue, lenders need to have more flexibility, Broens says.

If you’d like to see more done to address Vancouver Island’s housing market, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board encourages you to ask questions of your candidate.

Recognizing that a strong, stable housing market is important for Canada’s economy, for example, how can the federal government continue to support Canadian homeownership, especially for first time buyers? And how will parties ensure a healthy housing mix that includes the entire spectrum from community housing, rental and homeownership?

To learn more, visit vireb.com and stay up-to-date with the latest real estate news on Facebook.

Just Posted

List of businesses and services now open in Ladysmith

The Chronicle is compiling on ongoing list of businesses in Ladysmith that are now open

Man claims Ladysmith Bylaw Officer accused him of ‘squatting’ at Transfer Beach

Remley believes the officer was profiling him because of his long hair and long beard

School district reveals restart plans for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

K-5 students will see two days of instruction a week, 6-12 students once a week

Ladysmith A&W plans community Rod Run for June 4

Cruisin’ the Dub will look a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Ladysmith centenarian honoured with birthday parade

Kay Rozzano said she’s been looking forward to this birthday ‘for 100 years’

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Most Read