CREA’s take on the federal budget coming out of Ottawa

The federal government’s Budget 2017 released on March 22 is focused on building a strong middle class, as well as innovation, skills, partnerships and fairness.

The Budget did not further tighten housing market regulations.  This suggests that CREA’s message, urging the government to take a pause so they can fully understand the impact of the recent changes, has been clearly heard.  The government mentions that changes announced in October 2016 are expected to have a modest, temporary impact on housing in the short term.  That said, the government is ready to further adjust the housing finance framework, if and as required.

Given the recent changes to mortgage rules amid the government’s concerns about home prices, CREA did not expect their lobbying proposal for the extension and indexation of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) to be included in Budget 2017.

CREA will continue to press for improvements to the HBP in meetings between PAC representatives and MPs at PAC Days this fall.

Below are initiatives of interest to the REALTOR® community contained in Budget 2017:

National Housing Strategy – $11.2 billion over 11 years
CMHC will be responsible to implement a series of initiatives identified by various stakeholders as part of the National Housing Strategy consultative process.  These initiatives are designed to ensure Canadians have access to housing they can afford.

National Housing Fund – $5 billion over 11 years
CMHC will receive funding to address housing issues by prioritizing support for vulnerable citizens.

CREA participated in several roundtable discussions as well as a submission highlighting the implementation of programs to support REALTORS® and homebuyers.

Housing Statistics Framework – $39.9 million over 5 years
Statistics Canada will lead the Housing Statistics Framework to build a nationwide database of all properties in Canada.  The HSF will provide valuable data to allow policy makers to accurately analyze the housing market.

CREA continuously shares data with various government departments.  We intend to work closely with Statistics Canada on this new framework.

Energy Efficiency Programs – $67.5 million over 4 years
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) will be responsible to renew and continue existing energy efficiency programs.  A national program will also be formed to review existing building codes, retrofit existing buildings and build new net-zero buildings.

CREA has been working with NRCan on providing energy efficiency information to REALTORS®.  CREA will be publishing a series of blogs and is in the process of drafting a publication to be released later this year.

Anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime
The government is committed to strengthening the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTF) by making changes to the legislation.  These changes would focus on compliance and the functionality of the legislation.

CREA continues to support REALTORS® and brokers by providing tools and resources to assist in complying with requirements of Canada’s PCMLTF Act and regulations.

The Budget also includes tax measure reviews that may have an impact on REALTORS® and the real estate sector.  CREA will monitor closely and participate as necessary.

Budget 2017 included funding for local transportation projects such as Surrey’s Light Rapid Transit (LRT) project:

The TransLink Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation welcomed the federal government’s investment in the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund in Budget 2017, which would build upon an initial commitment of $370 million for local transit projects in 2016. The estimated total investment of $2.6 billion from the federal government represents the single largest federal investment in Metro Vancouver transportation in at least 20 years.

TransLink and the Mayors’ Council can now negotiate with the BC government to secure matching funds for Phase Two of the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation, which includes building the Millennium Line Broadway Extension in Vancouver and the Surrey LRT, as well as increased service on existing SkyTrain lines, continued expansion of bus service in every corner of the region, and new funding for major roads, walking and cycling infrastructure.

For detailed information on the federal government’s Budget 2017, click here.