Housing crisis: builders and owners call for strong measures

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Housing crisis: builders and owners demand strong measures

Canadian cities have been dominated by single-family zoning, but the Halifax Regional Municipality is encouraging the construction of smaller units to meet the urgent need for new housing.

Builders and building owners are sounding the alarm as the Legault government's next budget approaches: a series of strong measures is absolutely necessary to counter the housing shortage, to offset the disorderly increase in housing costs and to tackling the climate crisis.

A coalition made up of the two major builder associations, the Association de la construction du Qu├ębec (ACQ) and the Association of Construction and Housing Professionals of Quebec (APCHQ), the Corporation of Property Owners of Quebec ( CORPIQ) and the Urban Development Institute of Quebec unveiled a brief on Tuesday containing several recommendations aimed at tackling these problems head-on.

The coalition is calling first and foremost for an improvement and expansion of the various assistance programs for tenants in a situation of financial precariousness, to ensure the construction of some 11,700 social housing units promised, but still awaited, and to plan now the construction of social housing for the next 10 years.

It also calls for the enhancement of various tax measures, particularly on the QST side in connection with new housing, new rental housing and housing social and affordable rental housing, as well as an increase and acceleration of programs for the rapid construction of new affordable housing.

For new buyers, the organizations are asking to adjust the tax credit for the purchase of a first home to the reality of 2023 prices and to reimburse them the famous welcome tax.

In order to support the fight against climate change at the same time, the coalition is calling for a new energy-efficient renovation tax credit for homeowners and financial assistance corresponding to 30% of the cost of work for the energy-efficient renovation of buildings (rental, office, commercial and industrial).

Finally, the organizations ask Quebec to make a detailed inventory of the supply deficit, its causes and its regional particularities, that it organize a Summit on housing in 2023 and create a Quebec-municipalities working table to work in particular on financial aid for housing, public transport or even land requalification and urban development.

An untenable situation

In support of its demands, the coalition outlines the worst inflationary push in nearly 40 years, soaring mortgage rates that are preventing many households from accessing property, which is worsening the vacancy rate rental housing which, at an average of 1.7% in Quebec, is the lowest since 2004.

The APCHQ points out that it published a study last spring showing that 100,000 dwellings of all kinds are missing to restore a balance between supply and housing demand.