Prime Minister’s affordable housing plan challenged at Niagara convention

Thursday morning the Prime Minister was challenged on his plan to make housing more affordable for Canadians in the midst of a major downturn in the construction industry.

Justin Trudeau was speaking at a home builders’ convention in Niagara Falls.

Justin Trudeau’s budget was released in march so even before he stepped on stage, this crowd of home builders knew what he has to offer the industry.

“Even if you have a good job and you set aside money, sky-high house prices can mean that’s not enough. We have to make homes more affordable.”

New federal incentives include an upgraded first-time home buyers program and greater RRSP withdrawal allowances.

“Our concern is that both those things are going to take time. The incentive program won’t start until the fall and being able to save more is good, but will also take time. In the meantime, we’re seeing a real downturn in our industry.”

The Home Builders’ Association is calling for a return of 30-year mortgages, and a loosening of the new mortgage stress test.

“We’re still concerned about a continued downturn in housing. All the mortgage rules are compounding and it’s gone too far and it’s going to keep going.”

They say jobs are being lost at an alarming rate.

“What we’re seeing is a tremendous slowdown in construction activity, ironically when the reason we have such high house prices is not enough supply of the right kind of housing.”

The federal election is schedule for October 21st this year so the official campaign will start later, in the fall, after the writs are drawn up. But, this certainly seems like some pre-campaign campaigning. Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader, will speak to the crowd tomorrow.

Kevin Lee says he looks forward to hearing the Conservative plan tomorrow. So far Scheer’s team has not released any details about how they would tackle unaffordable housing in the country.