REALTORS(R) welcome federal housing initiatives in stimulating Canadian economy



    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Real Estate Association
(CREA) welcomes the federal government initiatives to stimulate economic
growth outlined in the 2009 budget, especially those that will encourage home
ownership in Canada. The Association applauds the government for recognizing
the economic importance of the housing industry in some of the budget
measures.
    "The change announced to the popular Home Buyers' Plan will help
Canadians who want to own their own home, and do it in a responsible way that
is not a major drain on taxpayers," says the President of The Canadian Real
Estate Association (CREA), Calvin Lindberg.
    Research conducted for CREA by the Altus Group shows that each
residential real estate transaction in Canada generates $32,200 in ancillary
consumer spending. The study also reported that 94,700 full time direct jobs
were generated annually by that ancillary or spin-off activity. The study is
posted on the www.crea.ca website.
    "The federal government has found a way to introduce economic stimulus
and housing initiatives for specific groups, and for Canadians who want to buy
their first home." Mr. Lindberg added. CREA had proposed the federal
government do that by increasing the limit of the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) to
help stimulate the housing market.
    Introduced in 1992 by a Conservative government and made permanent by a
Liberal government in 1994, the HBP has broad political and consumer support.
It will now allow first time homebuyers to withdraw up to $25,000 from their
RRSP to be used in a down payment on a residential property. The Plan has not
had the same impact and relevance it did 16 years ago, when the original
$20,000 limit represented 13.3 per cent of the average house price, versus
about 6.5 per cent in 2008.
    The Association also believes that the success of the proposed home
renovation tax credit program will depend on effective administration and
promotion.
    "The use of tax credits will make the program of interest to many
Canadians who own their own home," adds the CREA President, "but the success
will be tied in part to the availability of savings or credit, since the
expense has to be paid before the tax credit is issued."
    A survey conducted for CREA by IPSOS Reid in October 2008 revealed that
only 12 per cent of homeowners had ever applied to some type of government
renovation or energy efficiency program. In that same survey, 36 per cent said
they would consider replacing windows as a priority to improving home energy
efficiency, while another 27 per cent said it would be adding insulation.
    The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) also welcomes federal
government initiatives that will encourage home ownership and better
communities in Canada.
    "The announced measures for aboriginal and social housing are welcomed by
REALTORS(R) as steps to help house those who may be in need, and to modernize
existing housing resources," adds CREA President Calvin Lindberg.
    CREA first called on governments to address various issues affecting
native home ownership during the World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006. The
Association's analysis of native housing issues is available in a booklet
posted on the www.crea.ca website. "The budget spending initiatives help
address the issue of the quality of native housing, and quality of life on
Canadian reserves. Equally as important is the transition to market-based
housing on reserves, and the government in the budget has committed to the
transition to that as well," adds Mr. Lindberg.

    About CREA

    The Canadian Real Estate Association represents more than 96,000
REALTORS(R) and 100 local real estate Boards and Associations. To demonstrate
the commitment REALTORS(R) have to improving Quality of Life in their
communities, CREA supports growth that encourages economic vitality, provides
housing opportunities, respects the environment and builds communities with
good schools and safe neighbourhoods.




For further information:

For further information: Bob Linney, CREA Communications Director, (613)
301-2219, (613) 237-7111, rlinney@crea.ca

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The Canadian Real Estate Association

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

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