Île-des-Sœurs, March 21, 2019 – The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) commends the many real estate and housing measures announced yesterday by Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, in particular the enhancement of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and a CMHC incentive making it easier to purchase a first home.
Home Buyer’s Plan
Since the latest increase in the HBP ceiling, the QFREB has continued to suggest ways for the federal government to modernize the program. In support of the Canadian Real Estate Association, the QFREB has urged the Canadian government to raise HBP limits.
“To better reflect price increases in the Canadian and Québec real estate markets over the last few years, the QFREB has maintained that the maximum HBP withdrawal amount should be raised,” states Yanick Desnoyers, Director of Market Analysis at the QFREB. “The government has now heard this request and has responded by raising the maximum withdrawal amount to $35,000, which is $10,000 more than the current maximum.”
But a major problem remains with respect to the savings levels of young households. This increase could have been accompanied by a measure allowing intergenerational use of the HBP. For example, parents should be able to use the amounts accumulated in their RRSPs to support their children in acquiring their first home.
In its discussions with the federal government, the QFREB also suggested, under certain conditions, allowing people who had already benefited from the HBP to use it again, in the event of loss of a spouse, a separation, a work-related move or a decision to accommodate an elderly family member. The QFREB welcomes the announcement that the HBP is being reopened for couples going through a separation or divorce.
CMHC incentive to facilitate the purchase of a first home
The federal government is earmarking $1.25 billion over three years to enable at least 100,000 new buyers to get 5% or 10% of their mortgage interest-free from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This amount will be repayable only when the property is resold.
This assistance will enable young households to gain faster access to home ownership, along with reduced monthly payments. The program’s terms and conditions, to be outlined later, must be made flexible and affordable.
The spirit of this incentive program is found in the City of Montréal’s current “Accès Condos” program, which has demonstrated its effectiveness and obvious popularity. The QFREB welcomes the introduction of the new incentive.
The federal government could also have supported first-time homebuyers by boosting the current tax credit for acquiring an initial property, still limited in its financial scope.
“The federal government has understood that the various tightenings of mortgages and the rise in real estate prices were making homeownership more difficult,” Mr. Desnoyers added. “The two key housing measures in the federal budget should enable more young households to become owners, and this is one of the best ways to build solid financial wealth.”
About the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards
The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards is a non-profit organization representing the province’s eight real estate board as well as its 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 by providing services in the areas of professional practices, public affairs and market analysis. The QFREB is guided by an approached focused on collaboration and resource-sharing.
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB)