The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB) is unhappy that the recent federal budget had few housing initiatives.
The board says it would have liked to see more concrete commitments regarding tax measures relating to housing, in particular to improve the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).
“We wanted some aspects of the HBP to be modernized,” says Daniel Dagenais, president of the GMREB Board of Directors. “There is no clear commitment from the government regarding the HBP, particularly in terms of an increase in eligible amounts or in terms of using the HBP during significant life changes, as promised in the Liberal party’s platform for the October 2015 election. In 1992, the maximum eligible amount of $20,000 represented more than 13 per cent of the average property price in Canada, whereas today, the eligible amount of $25,000, increased in 2009, represents barely five per cent of the average property price,” he says.
The GMREB also points to the lack of measures to encourage first-time buyers who are affected by recent mortgage tightening measures. According to the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards, approximately 30,000 Centris transactions can be attributed to first-time buyers every year in Quebec, says the board.
“The GMREB stresses that Quebec’s homeownership rate still lags far behind that of Canada’s other provinces. The implementation of concrete measures could help to close this gap,” says the board.
The GMREB says it welcomes the creation of the inclusive National Housing Strategy and a national database on real estate transactions. Investments to improve the collection and analysis of real estate data and the development of new research methods on real estate will help to differentiate provincial markets and realities for better decision-making, it says.