Rent subsidies and more social housing are helpful but not the cure-all solutions
Aled ab Iorwerth
Deputy Chief Economist
As Deputy Chief Economist, Aled ab Iorwerth is part of a team of housing economists and researchers striving to improve Canada’s understanding of drivers and barriers in housing markets and how they impact affordability. Aled is also part of a diverse national team of researchers and analysts who are investigating impediments to housing supply and potential solutions.
CMHC’s aspiration and objectives
CMHC’s central aspiration is that everyone in Canada has a home that they can afford and that meets their needs.
Unfortunately, we face immense affordability challenges in many parts of Canada and housing cost burdens for Canadians across the income spectrum. Clearly, Canadians with low incomes are suffering acutely from high housing costs, but lack of affordability is a problem imperiling the prosperity of all Canadians.
While lack of affordability is common, solutions must vary. While financial support and the construction of more social and affordable housing will help those with lower incomes, there must also be increased supply of housing aimed at the market. The interconnectedness of housing means that both tracks must be pursued.
So, to overcome these affordability challenges, we need a range of government policies and investments stemming from several sources, notably the private and public sectors. The scale of the challenge is so large that the private sector must be involved – governments cannot do this on their own.
Canada’s affordability challenges
Affordability can be measured in several ways. The graph below simply charts the path of house prices across a range of developed countries over the last decade. Canada has seen the greatest price growth in this group. While real incomes have risen strongly as well in Canada, their path has not matched house prices’.