Federal election 2021: What Waterloo Region voters need to know about housing promises

·2 min read

With the federal election coming up, Cambridge Times and Metroland Media decided to take a local look at the issues dominating the campaigns. Here’s a local look at housing, and what the federal candidates and parties are promising.

HOUSING

Over the last five years, Waterloo Region has been a part of a surging housing crisis, with the average detached home selling for $919,914, according to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors. A report from the City of Kitchener found that over half of households in Kitchener could not afford to buy a home, and a report from the City of Waterloo found that a household would have to make $150,000 a year in order to own a home.

According to regional data, 2017 was a pivotal year in the Waterloo Region housing market. It marked the year that the median price of a resale home surged 22 per cent. As prices continued to rise in the Greater Toronto Area, homebuyers in those areas widened their search to cities such as Hamilton, Barrie, Guelph and, eventually, all of Waterloo Region.

This year brought approval for a number of affordable housing projects, including a 28-unit apartment for seniors at 33 Front St. in St. Jacobs.; a 25-unit building for people with mental illness at 290 Sheldon Ave., Kitchener; an 28-unit building with 66 market-rate apartments at 726 Hampshire St., Waterloo; and a church being converted into 43 units at 825 King. St. W. in Kitchener. Habitat for Humanity will also be building 20 affordable stacked townhomes in Cambridge at 325 Shantz Hill Rd.

WHAT THE PARTIES ARE PROMISING

Liberals: Have promised to preserve, repair or build 1.4 million new homes over the next four years. They’ll also help renters become homeowners through $1 billion in loans and grants, and set up a tax-free First Home Savings Account to help young people save for their down payment faster.

Conservatives: Have promised to build one million homes over the next three years, and have promised to make a new market in seven- to 10-year mortgages. They would also impose a ban on new foreign ownership for the next two years.

NDP: Have promised to build 500,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years. They also want to reintroduce a 30-year term on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation-insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers.

Green party: The Party’s “Reimagining our Future Plan” calls for building that create greenhouse gases to be retrofit, and to produce more energy than they use.

Genelle Levy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times

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