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Budget 2023: Building a Path to Housing Affordability

On Tuesday, February 28, BC Finance Minister, the Hon. Katrine Conroy, delivered the province’s 3-year budget. The budget made clear that the Eby government recognizes that the housing crisis in BC deserves the attention and resources of a full ministry, led by the Hon. Ravi Khalon, and is committed to making meaningful progress to ensure everyone in BC can afford a home, whether that means renting or owning a detached home, condominium, or townhome.

The refreshed housing strategy builds on the Homes for BC plan as response to new pressures in the housing market. This housing strategy will be financed through $4.2 billion in operating and capital funding over the next three years. Details will be announced later this spring; in the meantime, here’s an overview of the main thrusts of the budget’s housing strategy:

Building more homes

  • $1.7 billion in operating and capital funding over the fiscal plan for BC Builds and Building BC programs, which includes:
  • $394 million to help buy land for thousands of new homes near future transit development projects, strengthening community hubs that is centered around housing.
  • $66 million in a federal-provincial cost shared program to fund new housing developed through the Rapid Housing Initiative to help British Columbians with urgent housing needs.
  • $575 million in capital funding over three years to create post-secondary spaces in high demand areas; which includes the Lower Mainland. More student housing was also accounted for in this and included 8,000 new on-campus beds to be built by 2028.

Supporting renters

Budget 2023 introduces a new property transfer tax incentive to encourage the construction of new purpose-built rentals. It also provides a Renters Tax Credit that will save low- and moderate-income renters up to $400 per year and is expected to reach more than 80% of renter households. Rent increases in 2023 are capped below inflation at 2% to ensure renters can afford to pay their rent, at a time when costs of living continue to rise.

  • $7 million will help support the BC Rent Bank to provide crucial financial support to prevent eviction and homelessness.
  • More than $15 million over the next three years to increase staffing and capacity at the Residential Tenancy Branch so disputes can be solved in a time efficient manner.
  • $230 million to renew BC Housing aging rental stock, to make sure homes are livable.
  • $91 million for a pilot project that will provide financing incentives to encourage homeowners to develop new secondary suites.
  • $11 million to implement legislation, including the Housing Supply Act; and
  • $57 million to create new homes through new residential zoning measures and reducing the red tape associated with time and cost of local government approval processes.

Addressing homelessness

  • $1.5 billion in operating and capital funding to help reduce homelessness, including:
  • $228 million over three years to establish new multi-disciplinary teams to provide rapid response for regions responding to encampments.
  • $44 million for those living in encampments to access temporary modular housing.
  • $97 million in operating funding to support health‑focused services and resources at complex care sites.
  • Up to $640 million over three years in operating and capital funding for the Supportive Housing Fund; and
  • $109 million to expand shelter and low-income assistance programs.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is encouraged that the Eby government recognizes the realties of the housing crisis many British Columbians are facing and we appreciate the funding and strategies aimed at making a lasting impact. The Board’s Stakeholder & Government Relations Committee (SGRC) recognizes the plan as a hopeful leap in the right direction to create sound housing policy and with it, the potential for a more stable market. As more details emerge with the upcoming “refreshed housing strategy”, to be released in spring, the SGRC will work with our advocacy partners at the BCREA to support and build on provincial efforts within our region to ensure that all British Columbians have a place to call home.

For more details visit: BC Budget 2023

Source: Professional Standards