Prime Minister Harper announces help for aspiring homeowners

BUILDING on his announcement of a new, permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday announced improvements to help aspiring homeowners purchase their first house.

“For many Canadians, owning a home is their most important investment and the achievement of a key life goal,” said Harper.  “We want to help more Canadian families purchase their first dream home.”

The Home Buyer’s Plan allows aspiring homeowners to make tax-free withdrawals from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans to finance the purchase or new construction of their first home.  In 2009, the Harper Government increased the allowable withdrawal from $20,000 to $25,000 – the first increase since the program was established in 1992.

“Today, I am announcing a re-elected Harper Government will raise this limit once again – from $25,000 to $35,000,” said Harper.  “With this increase, we will continue to help families know the pride and stability of having a place to call their own.”

Another issue for aspiring home buyers, especially in Vancouver and Toronto, is the affordability of housing.  Real estate commentators have suggested that speculative foreign buyers are a significant factor in driving homes out of the price range of average families in some parts of the country.

“If, in fact, foreign speculators are driving the cost of housing to unaffordable levels, that is something the government can, and should, find a way to address,” Harper said.

“Our government will commit to collecting comprehensive data on foreign buyer activity in Canada’s housing market,” he added.  “We will then take action in coordination with provinces to ensure foreign investment in Canada’s housing sector supports the availability and affordability of homes for Canadians.”

Harper contrasted these practical, serious solutions to help aspiring homeowners against what he called “the ineffective and expensive schemes” proposed by his opponents. “[Federal Liberal Leader] Justin Trudeau is promising a meaningless ‘national strategy’ that will do nothing for families,” said Harper. “He just doesn’t understand the issue.”

“[NDP Leader] Mulcair and the NDP have promised expensive benefits for developers and investors that we cannot afford and that won’t help middle class families,” he added. “Only our Conservative party will continue to support Canadian families in achieving the pride and stability of home ownership.”