News of Canada’s federal election has made its way south of the border -- and talk of the country’s dramatic housing issues is front and centre. 

As housing issues continue to dominate election campaigns in Canada -- with each major party promising reform -- it turns out that the US is listening. 

This week, major US publications Business Insider and Wall Street Journal released articles highlight Canada’s affordable housing crisis, using no uncertain terms. 

Not shying away from the blunt reality Canadians are facing on the housing front, one Business Insider headline reads, “Canada’s housing crisis it so bad its government wants to change the rules for buying a home.” Of course, the publication isn’t wrong in its headline… or for beginning the piece by stating that “Canada desperately needs affordable homes.” 

READ: Smoke and Mirrors or A for Effort? Liberal Housing Strategy Divides Experts

The article outlines Justin Trudeau and the Liberals’ plan to ban blind bidding on homes, build 1.4 million new homes, and crack down on non-resident foreign homebuyers in the market for investment opportunities with a two-year ban and hike in vacant home tax. 

It also highlights promises made on the housing front by Conservative Party candidate Erin O’Toole, including his own two-year ban on foreign investors and supply lift initiatives. 

housingRichmond Hill Skyline

Perhaps most notably, the Business Insider piece points to the difference between each party’s plan and those of their neighbour to the south. In the US, the federal government has done next to nothing to help homebuyers, despite similar affordability issues. 

But the Business Insider didn’t stop at one piece. The same article published in Business Insider South Africa released just hours ago features the headline, “Canada’s housing crisis is so bad its government wants to ban foreign buyers for a while.” This came a day after the same article was published in Business Insider Australia, this time with the headline, “Canada’s housing crisis is so bad its government wants to change the rules for buying a home". In other words, BI is taking this global.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal similarly highlights Canada’s sky-high housing costs in an August 29 article, with a headline that reads, “Soaring Canada Real Estate Prices Draw Campaign Pledges to Build Homes.”

Citing polling that indicates that housing affordability is a top concern among Canadians, the WSJ piece zeros in on the common theme throughout the political spectrum to add more homes to the Canadian real estate landscape. This includes everything from the Liberal Party’s plans to drop billions into accelerating housing starts, to the Conservative Party’s big idea to turn government offices into housing units. Not to mention the NDP's plan to build some 500,000 new affordable homes in the next decade.

The WSJ piece highlights how previous housing supply strategies focused on low-income individuals or households, but now -- as a result of how bleak the situation has become -- they’re targeting middle-class workers who want to live close to work. The piece also notes a potential by-product of Canada’s sky-high housing costs: the ability for the country to retain or attract high-skilled talent. 

While the fate of the country’s real estate market remains as uncertain as ever, one thing’s for sure; Canada’s real estate scene has certainly made a reputation for itself on the global stage. 

Whether or not a new government can change that narrative, we'll have to wait and see.

Affordable Housing