In response to a critical shortage of housing, the Government of Canada intends to introduce legislation to enhance the GST Rental Rebate and remove the GST on new purpose-built rental housing projects (apartment buildings, student and senior residences) that begin construction on or after September 14, 2023. This welcome announcement follows a CMHC report reconfirming its 2022 estimate that Canada needs to build 3.5 million new housing units by 2030 to restore affordability.
First National has long advocated this policy prescription and we are pleased to see the government intends to maintain these much-needed incentives until December 31, 2030. Construction must be completed by year-end 2035.
By the government’s reckoning, the builder of a two-bedroom rental unit valued at $500,000 will realize $25,000 in tax relief as a result of these measures.
In this high-interest rate, high-cost inflation environment, the impact of this incentive is worth considering and I want you to know your team at First National stands ready to help you do so. There are specific criteria to meet to qualify for the rebate (including number of apartment units) and we can explain these, while also assessing competitive CMHC and conventional financing options available within our toolkit.
While a tax incentive alone may not completely move your needle right now, it is fundamentally helpful for the near and mid term. In particular, we are pleased to see broad applications for the rebate across multi-residential property types including office-to-residential conversion projects and that public service bodies are also expected to be eligible.
It is also encouraging to see the federal government urge those provinces that currently apply provincial sales taxes or the provincial portion of the HST to rental housing to match this rebate. That includes the Maritime provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. (British Columbia does not charge provincial sales tax on the sale of purpose-built rental buildings and Alberta does not levy a provincial sales tax at all). We will watch for provincial reaction to this request in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, please contact me for more information on this incentive and for other empowering advice.