Stephen Harper said Tuesday that if re-elected his government would give an extra 700,000 Canadians the opportunity to own their own homes. The target, which the Conservative party would expect to reach by 2020, would be achieved through a mix of new programs as well as existing tax breaks. The rate of homeownership in 2011 figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation was 69 per cent; the pledge would be to take that to 72.5 per cent within the next five years.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association welcomed the news but said that it needs more than just federal programs to make housing affordable for more: “Homeownership remains an aspiration of almost all Canadians, and is the cornerstone of the financial well-being of most Canadian families.  This dream is at risk if serious measures aren’t taken,” CHBA CEO Kevin Lee warned.  “We need policy from all levels of government to support homeownership and affordability, particularly for first-time home buyers.”

CHBA has advocated to all parties that rising land prices, development taxes and other factors have combined to drive the price of homes skyward and out of reach of many hard working potential first-time home buyers.

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