In his first campaign to become Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau promised a lot of things.
One of these was affordable housing.
That was in 2015.
Trudeau went on to win his first term as prime minister and with a majority government to boot.
As for affordable homes, the opposite happened.
A report released by an Ottawa think tank notes that average housing prices have increased by 70 percent since Trudeau came to power in October 2015.
That’s about $300,000 more, says the paper titled “Hitting Too Close to Home: Lack of supply and the affordability crisis in Canada”.
It means that prices have increased by $50,000 for each of the six years that Trudeau has been in power.
Also, average house prices increased by 31 percent “just since the onset of the pandemic”.
“While prices have been rising at unprecedented rates, the increase in household incomes has been modest at best,” stated the paper released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI).
The report was written by Murtaza Haider, a professor with Ryerson University, and Stephen Moranis, a former president of the Toronto Real Estate Board.
Trudeau won his term as prime minister in this year’s September 20 snap election.
“The fast-escalating prices under the first and second tenures of the Liberal government have been extensively debated and presented as evidence of weak stewardship on housing,” Haider and Moranis wrote.
The authors recalled that since 2015, Trudeau’s Liberal government has “embarked on an ambitious housing agenda under the National Housing Strategy (NHS)”.
That’s 10-year program with a total investment of $37 billion.
“However, it has failed to make a marked improvement in housing affordability,” the paper noted.
The authors pinpointed “lack of housing supply” as the primary cause of unaffordability.
The paper cited a Bank of Nova Scotia report that noted that Canada lags behind other Group of Seven (G7) countries in the “population-adjusted number of dwellings”.
“The bank estimated that to reach the G7 average of 471 dwellings per thousand residents, Canada would require an additional 1.8 million dwellings,” Haider and Moranis wrote.
The two noted that lack of housing supply has persisted in Canada since the early 1970s.
During that time, the country was building an average of 10,000 dwellings per million every year.
If the country continued at that rate, the report stated that it would have constructed almost 14.7 million new dwellings over the past five decades.
“Instead, Canada constructed 9.7 million new dwellings from 1970 to 2020, a shortfall of 5.0 million had the construction rates from the 1970s persisted,” the authors stated.
A recent report by the Canadian Real Estate Association noted that the national average home price in October 2021 rose to $716,585.
The number marks an 18.2 percent increase from the same month in 2020.
In the MLI report, Haider and Morani noted that an “increasing number of Canadian families believe that home ownership might have slipped out of their hands for good”.
“We conclude by calling on the federal government to think imaginatively and act boldly on housing, primarily by accepting that Canada has not built enough housing in the past 50 years,” the authors stated.