Conservatism can mean different things to different people.
To some, conservatism means to hold on to values and traditions in a world of ever-changing mindsets and ideals. To others, it means fiscal responsibility and respecting different jurisdictions. Whichever way you see conservatism, understanding what the different parties offer to the people of Canada is critical for making the best choice in this upcoming election.
Before we start, I'd like to just introduce myself, I'm Aly. A Calgary-born and raised realtor. I've been working to serve my clients in Calgary and surrounding areas for just over 6 years and have continued to find success through building great relationships and lifelong referral partners.
So let's dig into what the Conservative Party of Canada will bring to the table.
The Conservative Party
To start, as I did with the Liberal plan, you can find the Conservative Party's plan by clicking here.
In researching the Conservatives' plan, my first impression of the plan was how different it was from the Liberal platform. Their first point to tackling the housing price issue is to provide funding for public transit to municipalities to allow for the infrastructure to allow more supply of homes to be built. The hook for this would be that the municipalities would have to commit to increasing density along the funded transit.
Other notable items in the plan include:
Reviewing the extensive real estate portfolio held by the federal government and looking to release 15% of these assets for housing.
Incentivize development through:
Encouraging rental investment and allowing the sale of a rental property to have deferred capital gains tax to allow for reinvesting in rental housing.
Exploring the conversion of office space to housing.
Banning foreign investment into residential properties for those that are not planning to move or live in Canada for a two-year period. Instead, encourage foreign investment into purpose-built rental housing.
Encourage increased terms for mortgages to 7 to 10 years to allow for stability for home buyers
Removing the required stress test when a homeowner renews their mortgage with another lender. As well as fix the stress test to stop discrimination against small business owners, contractors, etc.
Increase the limit for mortgage insurance, which will be indexed to home price fluctuations.
No capital gains tax on primary residences.
As I mentioned above, my first impression of this plan was one that was in stark contrast to the Liberal Party's platform. Instead of being top-down, the first point of the plan goes down to the city level and provides the tools to allow for the increase in supply to occur.
If you live in the deep south of Calgary like me or the far north near Sage Hill, you will know the biggest issue we face is the lack of transit to our areas. The deep south in particularly with the opening of South Health Campus. Professionals that work here, or live down here and need to commute to downtown cannot without a car. However, new homes continue to come up each year, without the supporting infrastructure to support them.
From the sounds of the platform, they are looking to keep the stress test in place, but remove it when you come due for renewal. Which will lead to more competition and allow you, the homeowner to find the best lender to move forward with, rather than shackling you to your first lender. I know for me, when I renewed last year, this was my issue because I am self-employed. The implementation of 7 to 10-year mortgage terms will significantly reduce costs for homeowners with what the rates have been lately. The true savings is in the interest we pay for our homes. Check out my article on how the interest can save you thousands here.
There are some similarities in the platforms as well. For example, the increase in allowed mortgage insurance but the Conservatives offer a scale rather than a set limit as well as the acknowledgement of a foreign investment issue.
The biggest difference is that the Conservatives are looking to grow supply, through private means rather than government funding. With capital gains deferrals and foreign investment in rental housing only for two years, and divesting some government assets, it is taking the government out of fixing the housing issue.
The Conservatives' plan is looking to take federal ownership of the housing issues away and making it easier for different provinces and cities to tackle the issue in their own way. Coming from a city and province that does not much of what the Liberal Party is proposing, the Conservative approach would allow our city to continue to grow and get more buyers into homes without having to deal with issues like the stress test to limit their ability to purchase.
This approach might not be the best for BC or Ontario that are facing significant costs of housing. However, I would argue, it would give the power back to the provinces to set stronger guidelines. It would put the ownership of lending issues with the lenders to enforce stricter guidelines were needed, and relax them when not.
This approach doesn't seem to be top-down, which in a country as diverse as us, with respect to housing, would be the better approach in my opinion.
Thanks for your time today. Tomorrow we look at the NDP's approach to the housing issues we have in the country. Stay tuned and chat soon.