The recently released federal budget has addressed several housing issues that have been plaguing Canadians from coast to coast. Here’s a summary of the initiatives intended to make owning a house in Canada more accessible and affordable:
1. Budget 2022 proposes to introduce the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account that would give prospective first-time home buyers the ability to save up to $40,000. Like an RRSP, contributions would be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home—including investment income—would be non-taxable, like a TFSA.
2. With the target of creating 100,000 net new housing units over five years, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $4 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to launch a new Housing Accelerator Fund that is flexible to the needs and realities of cities and communities, while providing them support such as an annual per-door incentive or up-front funding for investments in municipal housing planning and delivery processes that will speed up housing development.
3. To ensure that more affordable housing can be built quickly, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $1.5 billion over two years, starting in 2022-23, to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative. This new funding is expected to create at least 6,000 new affordable housing units, with at least 25 per cent of funding going towards women-focused housing projects.
4. To help more Canadians purchase their first home, Budget 2022 announces an extension of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive to March 31, 2025, and that the government is exploring options to make the program more flexible and responsive to the needs of first-time home buyers, including single-led households.
5. To make sure that housing is owned by Canadians instead of foreign investors, Budget 2022 announces the government’s intention to propose restrictions that would prohibit foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from acquiring non-recreational, residential property in Canada for a period of two years.
6. To ensure profits from flipping properties are taxed fully and fairly, Budget 2022 proposes to introduce new rules so that any person who sells a property they have held for less than 12 months would be subject to full taxation on their profits as business income, applying to residential properties sold on or after January 1, 2023. Exemptions would apply for Canadians who sell their home due to certain life circumstances, such as a death, disability, the birth of a child, a new job, or a divorce.
7. To help develop and scale up rent-to-own projects across Canada, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $200 million in dedicated support under the existing Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This will include $100 million to support non-profits, co-ops, developers, and rent-to-own companies building new rent-to-own units.
8. Budget 2022 announces that the government will engage with provinces and territories over the next year to develop and implement a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights and bring forward a national plan to end blind bidding. Among other things, the Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights could also include ensuring a legal right to a home inspection and ensuring transparency on the history of sales prices on title searches.
9. To support these families, Budget 2022 proposes to introduce a Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, which would provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in 2023.
10. Budget 2022 proposes to reallocate $500 million of funding on a cash basis from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund to launch a new Co-operative Housing Development Program aimed at expanding co-op housing in Canada. This new program will be co-designed with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and the co-operative housing sector. It also proposes an additional $1 billion in loans to be reallocated from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to support coop housing projects.
11. Budget 2022 proposes to double the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit amount to $10,000, providing up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers, applying to homes purchased on or after January 1, 2022.
12. Budget 2022 proposes to provide $150 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to support affordable housing and related infrastructure in the North, of which $60 million would be provided to the Government of Nunavut; $60 million to the Government of the Northwest Territories; and $30 million to the Government of Yukon.
13. Budget 2022 proposes to double the qualifying expense limit of the Home Accessibility Tax Credit to $20,000 for the 2022 and subsequent tax years. This will mean a tax credit of up to $3,000—an increase from the previous tax credit of up to $1,500—for important accessibility renovations or alterations.