Skip to main content

Canada has 'addiction' to high housing prices: researcher

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party and Pierre Poilievre's Conservatives both announce plans to solve the country's housing crisis, one policy analyst is warning Canada's dependence on rising home prices is one of the biggest obstacles to restoring affordability in the real estate market.

"I don't hear yet any of those party leaders talking about how they want to break our country's addiction to high and rising home prices," says Paul Kershaw, founder and lead researcher at the Generation Squeeze think tank at the University of British Columbia.

The housing crisis has also had an outsized impact on younger Canadians, according to Kershaw, who have been kept out of the incredibly hot market, while existing homeowners are able to use their "wealth windfalls" to buy investment properties.

"We then rent out to young people at very high rents," Kershaw told CTV News Channel’s Todd van der Heyden on Thursday. "We get the wealth, they get no equity."


Pressure has been increasing on Canada's political leaders as fears about Canada's housing crisis grow, with the federal government announcing it will remove the GST on construction of new rental apartment buildings.

"I think this is actually an interesting day politically," Kershaw says. "I love to see this competition between the Liberals and the Conservatives."

But Kershaw also warns it's key that new housing policy doesn't "inflate the value of what already exists" because years of historically low interest rates have caused "corollary damage" by driving up prices of existing properties.

"We need to incentivize and make it cheaper to build new stuff."


One of the key challenges to increasing the country's housing density is NIMBYism, a problem Kershaw warns is a particular concern in Canada's cities.

"Neighbourhoods really inflect the way in which councillors get elected."

Kershaw believes that tying federal funding to housing density will be a key way to incentivize municipalities to build more units, by taking the "pressure" off municipal leaders because the federal government is "taking on some of the political heat."


The Liberals have been plagued by slumping poll numbers with most suggesting that Canadians believe the Conservatives would do a better job dealing with affordability and housing concerns.

However Kershaw says that nearly every political party in Canada should get poor grades on dealing with the housing crisis in the country.

"Have you yet heard any of them say; 'Our objective is to grow a thriving economy in which home prices stall?'" Kershaw says. "Until we hear that language… we are not going to restore affordability."

Click the video at the top of this article to watch the full interview.



OPINION 6 ways to prepare your finances for a potential recession

Despite Canada's economic resilience in the face of rising interest rates, it's still important to be prepared in case a recession hits. In a column for, personal finance contributor Christopher Liew shares some practical tips and actionable advice to better weather any economic storm.


OPINION Financial tips for newcomers to Canada, from an expert

For those who have recently immigrated to Canada, it's important to learn the basics of how the country's financial system works. Personal finance contributor Christopher Liew shares some financial tips around how to open a bank account, build your credit and file your taxes as a newcomer. Top Stories

Stay Connected