Posted at 7:00 am
The city of Trois-Rivières grants a tax credit to promote the densification of its outskirts in times of housing shortage.
This decision goes in the opposite direction to the trend seen in about twenty cities, most of them in the Montreal area, that have decided to overstretch new housing construction amid a housing crisis. For example, Terrebonne charges a $5,000 fee per new home.
The capital Mauricie announced on February 14 a property tax credit for new housing projects with at least eight apartments. The three-year loan covers 100% of the land value appreciation of the property after its consolidation.
The program applies in targeted areas. These have the characteristics of being served by water and sewage services and were built between 1950 and 1980. Developers must first register for credit. Then apply for your building permit.
The city hopes this measure will encourage the creation of 600 community shelters, says spokesman Mikaël Morrissette.
The measure is welcomed by the Association of Construction and Housing Professionals of Quebec (APCHQ).
We welcome the City of Trois-Rivières statute, which kills three birds with one stone: stimulating housing supply, encouraging densification within the current urban area and promoting affordability.
Paul Cardinal, economist at APCHQ
Trois-Rivières is experiencing a demographic boom, driven in part by housing affordability and the popularity of telecommuting, which has led Montreal workers to settle in the regions. The median price for a home in the Trois-Rivières area was $279,500 in Q4 2022. The city has a population of 143,000, which is 3,000 more people than at the 2021 census.
In the past two years, more than 1,000 housing units have been built in Trois-Rivières each year. Available vacant lots are becoming scarcer.
The compaction tax credit comes in addition to other measures recently proposed by the city to stimulate activity in the housing market with the aim of providing access to property and revitalizing old neighborhoods, Mr. Morrissette says. A draft housing policy will be presented to the public on March 8th.
By way of comparison, Terrebonne, Brossard and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville impose a development levy intended to allow developers of new buildings to pay the marginal cost of municipal services serving their subdivision. The license fee takes the form of a price per door: $3,527 in the case of Brossard and $5,000 in Terrebonne.
In any case, denser construction (with more apartments) per square meter of lot is taxed more heavily than single-family houses.
Peculiarity in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, family dwellings are taxed more heavily. The fee increases to $7,900 for a three-bedroom unit compared to $4,738 for a one-bedroom condo.
In order to be exempt from the tax, the developer can build social housing or affordable housing.
In this context, Mr. Morrissette stresses that Trois-Rivières imposes a kind of contribution on the promoters when the development requires the modernization or extension of municipal infrastructures, but only in certain cases and in certain sectors.
coexistence problems in sight
The tax credit proposed by Trois-Rivières is also not without flaws, according to Danielle Pilette, associate professor of local government at UQAM.
“The program ensures that single-family owners are encouraged by developers to sell their building. The remaining single-family homes must coexist with multi-family homes, which may result in less sunshine and views than before. In addition, affordable homes are being demolished to make way for new apartment buildings, wiping out homes that were selling at reasonable prices for middle-class families. »
In general, the university explains, a city that wants to densify a sector starts with a specific urban planning program (PPU). “A program like this keeps the city in control of what is done there. However, the city needs to invest. In this case, Trois-Rivières defines its objectives, does not invest itself and leaves the initiative to the promoters. »
The city spokesman assures that there will be no eight-family house between two single-family houses. “The zoning of the target sectors has been considered to minimize the impact of densification on the traffic plan,” specifies Mr. Morrissette.
0.9% vacancy rate for rental housing in the Trois-Rivières region in October 2022