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Canada needs to build 1.3M additional homes by 2030 to close housing gap, says PBO

Canada faces a monumental challenge on the housing front, as revealed by a recent report from the parliamentary budget officer (PBO). According to the PBO, the country must undertake the construction of an additional 1.3 million homes by 2030 to bridge the existing housing gap.

The report delves into the core issue of Canada's housing shortage, emphasizing the need to restore the country's vacancy rate to its historical average. In essence, this entails not only meeting current housing demands but also accommodating the formation of new households if adequate housing options are made available.

Yves Giroux's office, responsible for the report, arrives at a staggering figure, estimating that Canada must build 181,000 more homes annually than its current pace of construction. This projection underscores the urgency and scale of the housing deficit that must be addressed within the next decade.

However, it's essential to note that the PBO's analysis does not encompass recent federal initiatives aimed at boosting housing supply. Additionally, Ottawa's imposition of a cap on temporary residents is not factored into the report's calculations, potentially indicating a more complex landscape than initially depicted.

In contrast to the PBO's findings, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) puts forth a more ambitious target, asserting the need for 3.5 million additional homes by 2030 to restore affordability levels to those observed in 2003-04. Giroux offers a nuanced perspective, highlighting that his estimate is comparatively conservative as it primarily focuses on closing the gap between housing demand and supply.

Against this backdrop, the Liberal government has rolled out a series of housing-related initiatives in anticipation of the upcoming federal budget. These measures predominantly center on augmenting housing supply and affordability, reflecting a concerted effort to address the concerns of Canadians, particularly young voters.

Key proposals include the provision of substantial low-cost loans to incentivize rental construction and the allocation of infrastructure funding to support housing initiatives at the provincial and municipal levels. These strategic interventions signify a recognition of the pressing need to alleviate housing pressures across the country and mitigate the challenges faced by aspiring homeowners and renters alike.

The government's proactive stance on housing underscores its commitment to responding to the evolving needs and aspirations of Canadians, particularly amidst mounting apprehensions regarding homeownership prospects and escalating rental costs. As the nation navigates the complex terrain of housing policy, the forthcoming federal budget is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of Canada's housing landscape for years to come.

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