Making Housing More Affordable
Everyone should have a safe and affordable place to call home. But that goal is increasingly out of reach for far too many Canadians.
The government is moving forward with its ambitious package of measures to build more homes and make housing more affordable across the country.
A Top-Up to the Canada Housing Benefit
In September 2022, the government introduced a top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, which upon Parliamentary approval, will deliver a tax-free payment of $500 directly to 1.8 million low-income renters who are struggling with the cost of housing.
The federal benefit will be available to applicants with an adjusted net income below $35,000 for families, or below $20,000 for single Canadians, who pay at least 30 per cent of their income towards rent.
Moving Forward to Make Housing More Affordable
The government has already this year delivered the following measures that are making housing more affordable:
A two-year ban on foreign purchases of Canadian houses, effective January 1, 2023, to ensure that houses are used as homes for Canadians to live in—and not used as financial assets for foreign investors. The government recently consulted on regulations that will be brought forward prior to January 1, 2023, to implement the final details of the ban.
A 1 per cent annual vacant home tax on foreign-owned underused housing, to help free up homes for Canadians to live in, make the housing market more affordable for Canadians, and to ensure that foreign, non-resident owners of Canadian housing pay their fair share of Canadian tax.
Cracking down on speculation that contributes to higher home prices by applying the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) to all assignment sales of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential housing, effective May 7, 2022. An assignment sale is when a house is resold before it has even been constructed or lived in.
The 2022 Fall Economic Statement moves forward on the government’s plan to make housing more affordable. We will:
Help young Canadians afford a down payment faster with the new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account, which will allow prospective first-time home buyers to save up to $40,000 tax-free toward their first home. Like an RRSP, contributions would be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home—including investment income—would be non-taxable, like a TFSA. Tax-free in; tax-free out. The government expects that Canadians will be able to open and begin contributing to an account in mid-2023.
Matthew and Taryn are aspiring homeowners living together. Starting in 2023, they each save $8,000 per year (the annual maximum) in their Tax-Free First Home Savings Account and are able to deduct this from their income. They both make between $50,000 and $100,000, and the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account allows them each to receive an annual federal tax refund of $1,640.
Matthew and Taryn have a combined $90,000 (including tax-free investment income) in their Tax-Free First Home Savings Account at the end of 2027, when they finally find their ideal first home.
By using the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account, Matthew and Taryn are finally able to afford a down payment to buy their first home. They can withdraw their down payment tax-free, saving thousands of dollars that can be put towards their new home. In addition, they will claim the doubled First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, providing an additional $1,500 in tax relief.
Help Canadians save on closing costs by doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to provide up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers, starting in 2022, to offset the increasing closing costs involved in buying a home.
Introduce a new, refundable Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, to provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a family member who is a senior or an adult with a disability, starting January 1, 2023.
Crack down on house flipping by ensuring that profits from properties held for less than 12 months are fully taxed, starting in 2023, with certain exceptions for unexpected life events (e.g. death, divorce). This measure will ensure that investors who flip homes pay their fair share, and play a role in lowering housing prices for Canadians.
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