CHBA National Scene – June 2016

Federal Government Needs to Understand All Housing Markets
CHBA has been focusing much of its government relations efforts on delivering the message that affordability is a vitally important but complex issue, and that great care is needed to ensure any future federal action does not do more harm than good. This is especially important as discussions advance involving all levels of government as Canada moves towards a new National Housing Strategy later this year and as the new Federal/Provincial/Municipal Housing Markets Working Group gears up to focus on the Vancouver and Toronto markets. CHBA, CHBA-BC, Greater Vancouver HBA, Ontario HBA and BILD are collaborating to ensure that coordinated expert advice from all three levels of the Association is heard in this government working group process.

National news headlines relentlessly report on high home prices in Vancouver and Toronto, while many non-housing experts call for additional tightening of mortgage rules and increased down payment requirements. In this environment, it is important that policy makers understand the negative impacts such changes could have in most other urban Canadian markets. CHBA wants to ensure the federal government understands conditions in all housing markets, and does not create more financial road blocks for first-time homebuyers. It appears that message is getting through.

Earlier this month, CHBA CEO Kevin Lee appeared on CBC’s The Exchange to highlight the role that tight supply of family-friendly homes is playing in running up home prices – a problem largely caused by municipal and provincial development policies.

Watch the interview: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/702594627838

The message is getting through to the Prime Minister as well. In a recent visit to Vancouver to discuss that city’s overheated housing market, Prime Minister Trudeau noted that “there’s no question that concerted, thoughtful effort is going to be needed to address the situation but we have to be very wary of unintended consequences.” Trudeau cautioned that any federal measures to cap soaring house prices could backfire elsewhere in the country.

Leading the Way on Climate Change
The CHBA has posted eight recommendations to help Canadian housing and homeowners continue to lead the way in climate change action, to the benefit of homeowners, renters, and society as a whole, while maintaining a healthy residential construction industry. CHBA’s recommendations address opportunities and policies for new housing construction, renovation, community development, and smart transit investments.

The federal government has launched an online consultation on climate change – specifically geared to social engagement. Therefore, Views, Comments, Follows and Shares are critical to elevating ideas above the fray. CHBA encourages all members and HBAs to engage and interact on its proposals for climate change action – let’s make it the most popular submission the government receives! Here’s the link:
http://letstalkclimateaction.ca/ideas?view=detail&layout=1page&idea_id=2283

Continuing Fight vs. Underground Economy
Federal Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier and her Parliamentary Secretary, Emmanuel Dubourg, met this month with members of the Minister’s Underground Economy Advisory Committee, including CHBA, to look at ways to join forces to more actively combat the underground economy in Canada. Formed under the previous government, this committee of business organizations provides input to the Minister and to CRA on how best to combat underground economic activity. Minister Lebouthillier indicated her strong support for the Committee’s work, CHBA’s participation, and the government’s desire to develop more collaborate anti-UE actions like CHBA’s Get it in Writing! Program.

Executive Officers’ Council Forum Meets in Victoria
Some 30 CHBA Executive Officers and senior staff gathered in Victoria this month to collaborate and discuss ways to make the Association an even more powerful voice for Canada’s housing industry.

CHBA First Vice-President Eric DenOuden joined the Executive Officers’ Council and saw first-hand how important EOs are to a vibrant Association. “They are the glue that keeps things going along with strong leadership from elected members,” said DenOuden. It’s really impressive when you hear about all the good things being done in HBAs of all sizes and in all parts of the country. CHBA’s presence in the BC capital served to underscore the Association’s commitment to a strong CHBA-Vancouver Island.

 

The 2016 edition of CHBA’s Home Buyer Preference Survey was released as part of last month’s Kelowna Conference. It’s the largest-of-its-kind Canadian study, developed in partnership with Avid Ratings Canada that tracks what recent home buyers prefer in a new home, what they’re willing to trade off to get it, and what price they will to pay to secure their “must-have” features. Order online at www.chba.ca/survey.