Realtor’s Perspective: Addressing the Housing Crisis in Nova Scotia

By Sherry MacLeod Managing Broker of Cape Breton Realty

As a Realtor, I believe our profession needs to be more actively involved in addressing the housing crisis. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has issued a concerning revelation: Canada needs to more than double its housing construction over the next several years to address the pressing housing shortage. This nationwide challenge demands a collaborative and innovative approach from all levels of government, industry stakeholders, and community members to drive meaningful change and create sustainable solutions. At the provincial level, Nova Scotia has taken proactive steps to address the housing shortage and attract skilled tradespeople to the region. The province offers incentives to encourage tradespeople to move here, recognizing the vital role they play in addressing the housing crisis. These incentives not only aim to attract skilled workers but also contribute to the growth and sustainability of the local workforce, fostering a vibrant and dynamic community. Furthermore, Nova Scotia has introduced up to $40,000 incentive for building granny suites, providing an opportunity for homeowners to create additional housing units and contribute to the expansion of affordable housing options. This initiative not only addresses the housing shortage but also supports multi-generational living arrangements and promotes inclusivity within our communities. In addition to these incentives, the feds offer an HST tax break to encourage the construction of apartment buildings, providing a valuable opportunity for developers and investors to participate in the creation of much-needed rental housing. By leveraging tax incentives, the province is fostering an environment that supports the development of affordable housing options and addresses the diverse housing needs of Nova Scotians. Moreover, Nova Scotia has implemented forgivable loans for subsidized housing, further demonstrating a commitment to addressing the housing crisis and promoting inclusive and sustainable housing solutions. These initiatives are essential in creating opportunities for affordable housing development and supporting individuals and families in need of housing assistance. As we navigate the housing shortage, it is essential to think smart and prioritize sustainable solutions. Embracing green building practices that are both environmentally friendly and affordable can contribute to the creation of resilient and energy-efficient housing options. By integrating green building principles into our housing initiatives, we can promote sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of new construction projects. Additionally, there is a significant amount of available commercial rental space that could be converted to residential units. Owners of these commercial buildings could be incentivized through tax breaks or forgivable loans to convert their space, unlocking new housing opportunities and contributing to the revitalization of urban areas. While there are changes to capital gain tax rules, many are looking at selling their summer cottages. This is an opportunity to get quick housing. Insulating a cottage to make it a year-round home is a quick way to increase housing. This is a great opportunity for young people to buy starter homes. Seniors that spend winters down south can sell large homes and move to cottages for three seasons, and still travel during winter. Another option to consider is living on a boat for three seasons if you winter in a warmer climate. Often, Airbnb’s and motels are slow during winter months. They could be rented out monthly over the slower times. We need to be more creative. In conclusion, the housing shortage in Cape Breton presents a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires a coordinated and forward-thinking approach. By fostering an environment that encourages innovation, investment, and sustainable development, we can work towards creating vibrant and inclusive communities where affordable housing is accessible to all. Together, we can drive positive change and build a future where housing insecurity is a thing of the past, and every individual has a place to call home. “Realtor’s Perspective: Addressing the Housing Crisis in Nova Scotia Port Hawkesbury 304 Reynold’s Street, Phone: 902.625.0302

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