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‘Financialization’ of housing is not the problem – in fact, we need more of it

Jay-Ann Gilfoy is president and chief executive of Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about two hard, but related truths: the indisputable fact that a roof over one’s head is a basic human right, and second, the growing realization that getting much-needed housing built will require a herculean effort.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says this country needs to build 5.8 million new homes by 2030 to solve the housing crisis. This effort would cost in the trillions, even if we estimate the price of each home conservatively.

The only way we can achieve that lofty goal is through new, innovative ways of funding.

Many commentators blame Canada’s housing crisis on the “financialization of housing,” defined as the use of financial instruments, institutions and investors in local housing markets. According to the Centre for Social Innovation, the financialization of housing is a complex system whereby housing is increasingly being treated as a commodity, a means of accumulating wealth, and as securities that are traded and sold on local and global markets. …[Continue Reading]