Federal Budget 2023 – Housing Measures

April 6, 2023

 Gov. Rel. News 29 March 2023

The federal government has tabled the 2023 Budget titled “A Made-in-Canada Plan.” This budget is heavily focused on measures to address the cost-of-living crisis, provide inflation relief, invest in public health care, and build Canada’s clean economy.

Housing Measures in Budget 2023 

CREA has provided a detailed analysis of the 2023 Budget as it refers to the housing measures announced, and we are sharing this analysis below with you.

The following measures were included:

Building More Affordable Housing
The government intends to support the reallocation of funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund’s repair stream to its new construction stream, as needed, to boost the construction of new affordable homes for Canadians.

Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy 
Budget 2023 proposes to commit an additional $4 billion to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to implement a co-developed Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.

Mortgage Lenders Code of Conduct 
The federal government, through the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, is publishing a guideline to protect Canadians with mortgages who are facing exceptional circumstances. They intend to ensure that federally regulated financial institutions provide Canadians with fair and equitable access to relief measures that are appropriate for the circumstances they are facing. This includes extending amortizations, adjusting payment schedules, or authorizing lump-sum payments. Existing mortgage regulations may also allow lenders to provide a temporary mortgage amortization extension – even past 25 years.

Flood Insurance Program 
The government proposes to provide $31.7 million over three years, starting in 2023–24, to Public Safety Canada and CMHC to work with the Department of Finance Canada to create a low-cost flood insurance program, aimed at protecting households at high risk of flooding and without access to adequate insurance.

Raising Awareness of Flood Risks 
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $15.3 million over three years, starting in 2023–24, to Public Safety Canada to create a publicly accessible online portal where Canadians can access information on their exposure to flooding.

Financialization of Housing 
The federal government reiterated their commitment to tackling the financialization of housing through existing measures, including the two-year ban on foreign investment in Canadian housing, the tax on underused foreign-owned homes, taxing assignment sales, and making sure properties held for less than 12 months are taxed fully.

The government believes more could be done to ensure homes are affordable which is why policy changes applicable to large corporate landlords could be considered to ensure affordability and fair treatment of tenants. They want to ensure that investor activity, especially among those who own a significant number of investment properties, is helping, not hurting, housing affordability and will review whether there’s a need to rebalance the housing market.

Equity in Housing 
The government will consult on changes required to remove regulatory barriers for homebuyers from diverse communities seeking access to alternative financing products.

Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights 
The government remains committed to developing a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, but has heeded CREA’s warnings and understands the authority of provinces in setting these rules, stating they will work with provinces and territories to develop this plan. Together with CREA, we will continue to engage with the government on this issue during consultations, ensuring the rights of sellers are balanced with those of buyers – asserting provincial jurisdiction in this area.

TRREB has worked very closely with the province during Phase 2 consultations on regulations of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act by giving sellers another option to negotiate the sale of their property by permitting the substance of competing offers to be shared, excluding personal and identifiable information of buyers.

“A Made-in-Canada Plan” reiterates existing housing measures and investments the government has previously announced and, while these investments are considerable, they’re not sufficient to address the current housing crisis. Together with CREA, TRREB will continue to advocate for solutions to address the urgent nature of the housing crisis and the need for more housing supply across the entire continuum.
Members need to keep in mind a number of federal?government housing programs and initiatives?that are happening in 2023 which were reiterated in the budget, including:

  • Financial institutions will be able to start offering the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA) to Canadians as of April 1, 2023;
  • The government finally launched a new $4 billion?Housing Accelerator Fund to remove barriers and incentivize housing supply growth on March 17, 2023;
  • A two-year ban on non-resident, non-Canadians purchasing residential property, amended on March 27, 2023 (for more information, click to review the recent TRREB posting);
  • A 1% annual underused housing tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential property that is vacant or underused;
  • A $200 million stream under the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to develop and scale up rent-to-own projects; and
  • A third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative which is providing $1.5 billion to create new affordable housing units for Canadians in severe housing need.

TRREB will continue to engage with the government on federal housing initiatives that impact our industry and Members, ensuring REALTOR® positions are heard.