Prime Minister Harper Highlights Conservative Plan For Affordable Home Ownership

August 16, 2015

BACKGROUNDER

THE ISSUE

Investing in a home is a major financial decision for young families and often represents their most significant financial commitment. Indeed, for many Canadians, the family home is their biggest asset and their largest investment in their future financial security. Statistics Canada data show that, of the total value of assets held by Canadian families in 2012, the principal residence was the largest asset, representing one-third of the total value.[1]

That’s why the Harper Government believes in helping Canadian families purchase and invest in their first home. We’ve taken steps including:

  • Establishing the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit – a $5,000 tax credit to help with the costs associated with purchasing a home such as legal fees, and land transfer taxes.[2]
  • Increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan from $20,000 to $25,000 to help
  • first-time home buyers make their down payment.
  • Establishing and expanding the Tax-Free Savings Account so Canadians can save and invest their money tax-free.
  • Providing for a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit in 2009 to help defray the cost of major home renovations.[3]
  • Providing $585M in funding for the eco-Energy Home Retrofit Program, in 2009 and 2010. Budget 2011 allocated an additional $400M to support energy-efficient renovations.

In its last budget, the Harper Government also introduced a new Home Accessibility Tax Credit for seniors and persons with disabilities. This measure allows seniors and persons eligible for the Disability Tax Credit to receive a credit on home renovation expenses of up to $10,000 per year, providing up to $1,500 in tax relief – improvements to allow them to become safer and more mobile within their homes. Examples of eligible expenditures include wheelchair ramps, walk-in bathtubs, and grab-bars.

Home ownership rates in Canada are now among the highest in the industrialized world with the 2011 National Household Survey from Statistics Canada showing the trend to own continuing to climb and reaching 69 percent. The survey found approximately 9.2 million owner households in Canada. Of these homeowners, 2.6 million (or 28 percent) had moved into their homes between 2006 and 2011.[4]

Many of these homeowners are entering the market for the first time. A CMHC survey of home buyers found that 35 percent were buying their first home.[5] First-time home buyers often have unique needs with respect to financing, closing costs, and renovations or upgrades.

Home owners in general and first-time home buyers in particular have benefited from the Harper Government’s policies. Our program is helping young families with housing affordability and with maintaining and increasing the value of their homes.

We understand that not only is the family home an important investment for Canadian families, it is the focus of their lives – where they raise their children, relax with friends and family, and enjoy their golden years.

THE PLAN

A re-elected Harper Government will build on our record of support for affordable homeownership for young families by:

  • Collecting data on foreign buyer activity in Canada’s housing market and, as necessary, taking concrete action in coordination with provinces to curb foreign speculation in Canada’s residential real estate market.
  • Expanding the Home Buyers’ Plan from $25,000 to $35,000 so first-time home buyers can withdraw savings tax-free to make their down payments and reduce their mortgages and interest payments.
  • Maintaining the enhancement to Tax-Free Savings Accounts so Canadians can save and invest more of their hard-earned money tax-free.
  • Establishing a new permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit for substantial home renovation expenses between $1,000 and $5,000 so young home owners can renovate and upgrade their homes.[6]

These common-sense policies will support home affordability, make it easier to buy and invest in a home – particularly for first-time home buyers – and encourage responsible homeownership.

WHAT STAKEHOLDERS ARE SAYING

“The Home Buyers’ Plan has helped so many Canadian families realize their dream of home ownership. Today’s commitment to increase the withdrawal limit of the HBP will ensure that the dream stays within reach for today’s young people” – Canadian Real Estate Association

“We welcome the Conservative Government’s announcement today proposing to increase the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal up to $35,000 from the current $25,000 for first-time home buyers” – Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals

“We are glad that the importance of home renovation to the Canadian economy has been introduced into the election campaign. A permanent tax credit is sound policy for all Canadians, helping homeowners protect and add value to their homes, while also addressing the chronic problem of the underground ‘cash’ economy in home renovations and repairs” – Canadian Home Builders Association

“The Conservative pledge for a permanent home renovation tax credit is more good news for Canada’s skilled trades!” – Progressive Contractors Association of Canada

“Merit Canada is pleased to support @pmharper call for a permanent home renovation tax credit which will save taxpayers $1.5 billion. A permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit will also create jobs and ensure consumers choose professional contractors” – Merit Canada

“Good 2 see #CPC promise 2 make Home Renovation credit permanent. A CFIB budget ask” – Canadian Federation of Independent Business

THE CHOICE

Canadians have a choice between Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proven leadership and low-tax plan for Canadian families, and the high-tax agenda of Justin and Thomas Mulcair.

Justin Trudeau lacks the experience and judgment to separate job-killing policies from job-promoting ones. He’ll say yes to special interests that demand billions in new spending, new debt and higher taxes. In fact, Justin voted against the Home Renovation Tax Credit the first time it was introduced by the Harper Government. Justin will cancel tax cuts and take away benefits from families in favour of big new government programs

that ultimately do nothing to help Canadian families. That’s the price of inexperience and bad fiscal management.

Thomas Mulcair supports high taxes and big debt. He has voted against every single Conservative tax cut and will make as many Canadians as he can pay more tax. Mulcair’s leadership would spark economic chaos and drive Canada’s economy into deficit. Canadians can’t afford Thomas Mulcair’s NDP.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives believe that Canadians should keep more of their hard-earned money and are best-placed to decide how to invest in the needs and priorities of their families. Only a Harper Government will continue with a low-tax plan to create and protect Canadian jobs, and support Canadian families.

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[1] See Statistics Canada, Survey of Financial Security, 2012. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/140225/dq140225b-eng.htm.
[2] See: http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/blog/first-time-home-buyers-tax-credit-explained.
[3] The temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit was a resounding success. About one in every three households took advantage of his program – saving more than three million Canadians, on average, more than $700 each. It also pumped $4.3 billion into our national economy, in tough economic times.
[4] See: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-014-x/99-014-x2011002-eng.pdf.
[5] See: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/65459/65459_2012_A01.pdf.
[6] Properties eligible for the tax credit will include houses, cottages and condominium units that are owned for personal use. Renovation costs for projects such as finishing a basement or re-modelling a kitchen will be eligible for the credit, along with associated expenses such as building permits, professional services, equipment rentals and incidental expenses.

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