Planning for Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery

Sep 25, 2020

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Posted by
Trevor Hargreaves
VP Government Relations / Stakeholder Engagement

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BCREA's Recommendations for the Next Provincial Government

With British Columbians being asked to head to the polls on October 24, BCREA is advocating with all parties to ensure that market housing affordability is a cornerstone of the province’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made market housing affordability inequities more apparent than ever,” says Trevor Hargreaves, VP Government Relations and Stakeholder Engagement. “Whatever the election outcome, a better future for British Columbians must include meeting British Columbia’s housing needs, controlling rising strata insurance costs and supporting a greener future by encouraging energy retrofits.”

Meeting British Columbia’s housing needs

Throughout the province, there is a mismatch between available housing options and consumers’ needs. Providing enough supply – and choice in types of housing – to meet demand is a key factor in managing housing affordability. As we plan for economic recovery, ensuring all British Columbians have access to affordable, appropriate housing, whether to rent or purchase, must be a priority.

Our recommendations include:

  • In urban areas, increasing the supply of affordable, market, ground-oriented, family (three-bedroom) homes along transit corridors in lower density neighbourhoods using Property Transfer Tax revenue.
  • Encouraging local governments to legalize secondary suites with minimal red tape and enable alternative rental units such as coach houses.

New construction will also put people to work, further contributing to economic recovery.

Controlling soaring strata insurance costs

At least a quarter of the BC’s population lives in stratas. The massive rise in strata insurance costs has created uncertainty and risk for property owners and renters across the province. We appreciate the steps that the provincial government has already taken to protect strata owners, but more action is needed.

Our recommendations include:

  • Encouraging the BC Financial Services Authority to foster a robust, economically viable market that attracts and retains insurance providers.
  • Developing mandatory education for strata council members.

Encouraging energy retrofits

While all levels of government are rightly focusing on supporting British Columbians through this pandemic, climate change risks remain as urgent as ever. BC’s next government can help reduce greenhouse gases while bolstering our economy by offering energy retrofit incentives. Such incentives would make important renovations more affordable, help the government meet its climate change targets while contributing to economic recovery.

Our recommendations include:

  • Committing to a long-term, widespread investment in financial incentives to help property owners voluntarily retrofit existing buildings.
  • Making financial incentives available to owners of existing commercial, purpose-built rental, multi-family strata and single-family properties.

Click here to read all our policy recommendations for the next provincial government.

BC REALTORS® support strong communities

The housing market and the Realtor profession are key contributors to the provincial economy. A 2019 study from The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that each home sale on the Multiple Listing Service® in BC between 2016 and 2018 generated approximately $72,000 in related expenditures in the three years after the sale.

BC’s 23,000 Realtors are committed to working with government and other partners to support policies that build stronger communities by encouraging economic vitality, providing housing opportunities for all British Columbians and contributing to a sustainable climate future.

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