Langley Advance Times introduced a new weekly feature, call it “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley school board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online each Sunday.
Both Langley MPs were asked the same question: How can the federal government reduce housing prices without damaging the finances of longtime homeowners whose houses are part of their retirement plans?
MP John Aldag
A. Our housing plan is designed to provide first-time buyers easier access to the housing market, while ensuring sustainable housing growth. It will provide home-buyers much-needed rights, reduce transaction costs, and make it easier to buy a home.
This involves, creating a tax-free First Home Savings Account, a First-Time Buyer Incentive, and a tax credit – each will help young Canadians afford a downpayment, faster. Costs such as mortgage insurance will be reduced by 25 per cent.
The Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights will ban blind bidding, which drives up home prices in an unsustainable manner, establishes a legal right to a home inspection to make sure that buyers have the peace of mind that their investment is sound, and ensures total transparency on the history of recent house sale prices on title searches.
Our plan to ban new foreign ownership and build 1.4 million houses will increase housing supply, while reducing out-of-country demand.
This will return housing price increases back to sustainable annual growth, instead of the unsustainable growth we have experienced in the last two years – often more than 20 per cent per year.
Our plan will enable first-time buyers easier and faster access to the housing market and ensure sustainable growth for existing homeowners who depend on their homes as part of their retirement plan.
MP Tako van Popta
A. Canada is facing a housing affordability crisis right across the country, and nowhere is that inflationary pressure felt more than here in B.C.’s Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.
During the pandemic period, home prices rose between 15 and 30 per cent in our region, far beyond the two to four per cent annual rate of inflation.
Everybody, including young families and new Canadians, should be able to afford a safe and secure home but under these pressures, it’s hard for prospective renters and purchasers to remain hopeful.
It is clear that the supply of new housing is not keeping up with the demand. I believe that increasing the supply of new housing, for sale and for rent, in urban areas such as the western part of Langley must be part of the solution.
Transit oriented development around SkyTrain stations and improved transit services will help move us in the right direction.
Basic economics tells us that to maintain price stability, supply must meet demand.
With an already existing housing shortage and with population growth projections for our region, all levels of government must work together to find that balance.
The market can adjust to modest price adjustments over time, but what we have seen over the last few years is unsustainable.
In the long run, real estate in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley will always be a good investment. I am confident that with good government policies and the three levels of government working together, we will find pricing stability.
Next week’s Langley City councillors are being asked: With Langley City’s population predicted to grow significantly in the next few years, should the City be building its own indoor pool?
Watch for their answers online Sunday.