Île-des-Sœurs, March 22, 2019 – Given the importance of the real estate sector in the Québec economy, the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) would have liked the Québec government to adopt measures to improve homeownership and consumer protection. The budget released yesterday by the Legault government contrasts with the one tabled by Ottawa on Tuesday, which included much more focused and generous measures to maintain a dynamic and accessible housing market.
It is important to remember that Québec continues to show a significant lag in property homeownership rates compared to the Canadian average and that the conditions for homeownership have deteriorated in recent years. While the federal government chose to help young homebuyers, including an enhancement to the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and a CMHC incentive to help purchase a first home, the Québec government chose not to offer more substantial tax relief to persons who acquire their first principal residence.
In its 2018-2019 budget, the Government of Québec took a first step in this direction by granting a $750 non-refundable tax credit for the purchase of a first home. The QFREB believes that this tax credit could have been enhanced to further promote homeownership.
Two parallel means have been proposed by the QFREB, the first being the transformation of the non-refundable tax credit for the purchase of a first home into a refundable tax credit for all first-time home buyers; the second being setting the threshold of eligible expenditures to $2,000 to cover the average amount of real estate transfer taxes currently paid by first-time home buyers in Québec.
“Homeownership is the best tool for a young household to build financial wealth,” contends Yanick Desnoyers, Manager of the QFREB’s Market Analysis Department. “We had asked the Québec government to increase its tax credit for the purchase of a first property and reduce the scope of the property transfer tax, commonly known as the welcome tax,” added Mr. Desnoyers.
Remember that Ontario recently introduced a program to support first-time homebuyers by abolishing its provincial welcome tax for homebuyers.
Continuation of Some Government Programs
The QFREB is pleased that the Program for Residences Damaged by Pyrrhotite will be increased by $2M over two years. In effect since July 2011, this program has provided more than 1,000 households with financial assistance to carry out the necessary work on their residence.
We would like to point out as well that an investment of $50 million was made to the Renovation Québec program. This will allow municipalities to renovate housing in rundown residential areas. These funds will permit the renovation of some 1,200 dwellings.
Investments of $60 million over four years will also be made to the Residential Adaptation Assistance Program to annually adapt 1,000 homes for persons with a disability and repair more than 4,300 pieces of specialized equipment.
However, the QFREB is disheartened to note that the government is abandoning the RénoVert Program which was very popular with homeowners and which had generated millions of dollars in renovation work.
“In order to encourage individuals to carry out environmentally responsible residential renovation work, the government set up the RénoVert tax credit in 2016 in conjunction with the LogiRénov and ÉcoRénov government programs, respectively launched in 2014 and 2013,” explained Mr. Desnoyers. “We are disappointed to see this flagship program disappear and believe that maintaining this measure would have benefited both homeowners and future home buyers.”
About the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards
The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) is a non-profit organization representing the province’s 8 real estate boards and their nearly 13 000-member real estate brokers. Its mission is to support Québec’s real estate boards in order to defend, protect and promote the interests of real estate brokers through the provision of services in the areas of professional practices, public affairs and market analysis. The QFREB is guided by an approach centred on collaboration and resource sharing.
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Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB)