Windsor – The Windsor-Essex County Association of REALTORS® (WECAR) is pleased to see housing at the forefront of the federal election debate and appreciates all three major federal parties coming forward with long-term policy ideas to address the housing crisis.
However, WECAR has concerns about some of these ideas. Earlier this week, the Liberal Party of Canada announced their housing plan to curb the rising cost of residential properties across Canada. One aspect of the plan is to eliminate the traditional offer process (‘blind bidding’), denying homeowners the choice of how to sell their home. Instead, the Liberal plan would make it mandatory for families to sell their homes by open offer auction.
“Eliminating blind bidding in favour of a mandatory open auction process is a promise that focuses on the wrong issues and tries to sway voters into believing that open auctions will increase housing supply and affordability for first-time buyers,” emphasized Damon Winney, President of WECAR. “In fact, in other jurisdictions, such as Australia, where open offers are the norm, auction fever drives prices higher, often forcing buyers to make uninformed, snap decisions about tens of thousands of dollars.”
Windsor-Essex has only recently started experiencing the housing affordability crisis that has been occurring across Canada. Bidding wars and climbing prices are symptomatic of a much larger issue in the housing market: supply and demand. Increased savings, low interest rates, lack of new supply, and shifts in consumer behaviors have all contributed to a situation where the demand for homes outpaces the available supply, driving prices higher.
For several years, Windsor-Essex and Ontario REALTORS® have been lobbying for much needed changes to help increase supply across the province and make housing more affordable, including eliminating dirty money from the real estate market, increasing rebates for first-timehome buyers, eliminating developmental red tape and redeveloping surplus land and commercial properties into housing.
“The high demand for homes across the country and in Windsor-Essex simply means more new housing construction is needed,” said Winney. “All levels of government need to focus their efforts on increasing housing supply, eliminating unnecessary government red tape, addressing affordability and ensuring both buyers and sellers have choice in how they engage in the offer process.”
With Canadians piling into mortgages at more than double the historical pace, the total value of residential mortgages rose by 1.2 per cent to $1.73 trillion in June, according to data released by Statistics Canada this week – the fastest monthly increase in loans borrowed for real-estate purchases in almost 15 years.
Fixing Canada’s housing affordability crisis starts with meaningful action to boost supply. More homes and more affordable choices will help frustrated buyers finally get the keys to a new home.
Krista Gionet, CAE, CRAE,
Windsor-Essex County Association of REALTORS®
Tel: 519-966-6432 x102