Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says her party’s housing plan will help young people and young workers find affordable homes in the Niagara region.
In response to “skyrocketing” real estate prices, Horwath said people need hope they can continue raising their families and live in the communities “that raised them up.”
“That’s something that’s extremely important. Young people deserve to be able to choose neighbourhoods and communities to live in where they feel comfortable, where they have a history and where they can stay close to relatives,” she said during a press conference Friday morning in St. Catharines.
The average price for a three bedroom, two bathroom home in Niagara increased by 36 per cent in the past year. In St. Catharines, the median sale price increased from $447,200 in July 2020 to $614,100 in July 2021.
Horwath said the Homes in Ontario plan, part of the NDPs Homes You Can Afford platform, offers more than just hope, but concrete solutions.
The program would give first-time homeowners an equity loan up to 10 per cent, helping people enter the competitive housing market. It would also regulate short-term rentals, stopping companies from buying up houses to rent on a short-term basis.
Horwath said the NDP would also increase the non-resident speculative tax to 20 per cent from 15 throughout the province and close loopholes that exist.
“Wealthy speculators are left off the hook when it comes to any kind of responsibility and commitment to ensuring that our communities meet the needs of families and young people that live here,” said Horwath.
Placing the blame on the provincial government, Horwath said Premier Doug Ford has allowed big corporations to squeeze “everyday workers and everyday families” out of the housing market.
“That has to stop. Folks are left to fight over dregs that are left are left after these big money interest come in and buy up housing,” she said.
“We do have the solutions that will make a difference for folks are we’re excited to share that.”
Horwath was joined by NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines), Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) and Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls).