Tuesday, August 20, 2019

4 ways the federal government can improve housing affordability


A new report calls on the federal government to take four key measures to improve housing affordability and availability in the Vancouver region.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has published a report called More Homes, More Choices in which it makes several key recommendations to the Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability, which was announced earlier this year by the provincial and federal governments.

“The lack of available and affordable housing is a persistent challenge facing the Greater Vancouver region. It affects the quality of life of residents and impacts many local businesses, who are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain skilled workers due to the high costs of housing,” said Evi Mustel, Vice-Chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Among the report’s recommendations, the Board says the federal government should:

1. Coordinate current federal housing and transit investments and consider additional incentives or requirements to encourage more housing near rapid transit .
2. Make changes to the Income Tax Act to support new rental construction .
3. Explore creative ways to encourage new rental units within existing zoning, such as a tax credit for building new rental or laneway homes.
4. Double down on efforts to unlock federal lands and allocate proceeds from federal developments to support regional housing investments.

“In recent years, much of the public debate on housing affordability in the Lower Mainland has focused on the actions of local and provincial governments,” added Mustel. “While the federal government’s National Housing Strategy makes meaningful strides, the Board of Trade believes the federal government can unlock more housing — especially rental housing — by using a broader set of tools within their toolkit.”

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