Trudeau Pledges Billions More for Apartment Construction Loans

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the upcoming federal budget will put C$15 billion ($11.1 billion) more into an apartment construction loan program, the latest in his efforts to address Canada’s shortage of housing as its population surges.

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The additional money would bring the size of the federal loan program to C$55 billion, allowing it to finance the construction of more than 131,000 new apartments within the next decade, the government said.

The program will also be reformed to extend the loan terms, expand access for student and senior housing projects, and allow for multiple projects to be financed at once. The government said it will speed applications for “proven home builders.”

In effect, Trudeau is applying the BC Builds program across the country. That program, set up in the west coast province of British Columbia, provides low-cost financing to accelerate homebuilding and aims to shorten approval times for projects.

Trudeau has been making a series of announcements ahead of the budget’s release on April 16 in an attempt to show his government is addressing Canada’s soaring housing prices and lack of supply.

On Tuesday he announced a new C$5 billion infrastructure fund that provinces could access — but only if they remove certain barriers to building housing, such as freezing municipal development charges and allowing up to four units on every lot.

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