Federal plan targets Canada Post properties for housing expansion

The federal government is looking to leverage underutilized properties owned by Canada Post and National Defence to address the pressing issues of affordability and supply in the housing market.

Outlined in the recent federal budget release, the initiative aims to unlock land currently held by both organizations, facilitating the construction of housing at an unprecedented pace and scale. The objective is to bridge the housing gap, particularly for younger Canadians striving to enter the real estate market.

In addition to existing measures like extended amortization periods for first-time buyers and restrictions on foreign investment and short-term rentals, the plan introduces new initiatives. These include securing more land for development and bolstering funds aimed at expediting construction, such as a $400 million top-up to a $4 billion fund.

Central to the strategy is the liberation of vacant public land, leased to builders to construct homes intended to remain “affordable forever.” This land will be sourced from various sources, including Canada Post, which possesses a portfolio of 1,700 post offices nationwide. Six Canada Post properties, primarily located in Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, are under assessment for housing development potential. Additionally, 33 other sites held by Canada Post are identified as viable options for construction.

National Defence’s 622 properties are also targeted for repurposing. Specific sites in Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver are earmarked for civilian or military use, while 14 surplus properties are deemed suitable for housing. An allocation of $6.9 million over the next four years is designated to construct 1,400 new homes for military personnel and renovate 2,500 existing units.

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