New federal budget focused on helping first-time homebuyers

The federal budget was announced Thursday and the Trudeau government is trying to help younger Canadians get into the housing market.

Billions of dollars are earmarked for housing aimed at first-time homebuyers as the budget tries to build up supply to meet demand while also offering some tax breaks.

“We will make it easier for our young people to get those first keys of their own,” said Chrystia Freeland, the federal finance minister.

As part of the budget, the federal Liberals are pledging a two-year ban on foreign home purchasing, something they say has led to a market increase.

“We will make sure that houses are being used as homes for Canadian families, rather than a speculative financial asset.”

Stacey Burrows, who is a real estate agent in Winnipeg for Remax, said foreign purchasing is a problem in other provinces, but not as much in Manitoba.

“That isn’t a traditional, typical buyer that we have here,” said Burrows.

She added the problem a first-time homebuyer deals with in Winnipeg is low supply and high demand.

“There are far more buyers that are looking than homes available and there’s a few things impacting that. Traditionally we’re seeing in more that mature age range that those people are staying in their homes longer.”

To help improve the housing stock, the federal budget is promising $4 billion over five years for municipalities to foster 100,000 new units.

Coun. Cindy Gilroy, who is the chair of the city’s Property and Development committee, said the city needs half a million dollars to hire a consultant to make zoning changes needed for a plan to build up, not out.

“What we really want to do with the infill strategy, we are really looking at increasing density by 50 per cent,” said Gilroy.

Also included in the budget is a $40,000 tax-free savings fund for first-time home owners, doubling the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit to $10,000 and a promise of $1.5 billion for rapid housing over two years to build 6,000 units.

The budget also includes $4.3 billion for Indigenous housing.

Premier Heather Stefanson is expected to comment on the budget on Friday, while Mayor Brian Bowman said in a statement that he is happy to see affordable housing investments, but he said making the doubling of the gas tax revenue permanent and new money for transit was missing from the budget.

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