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When new home buyers couldn't get enough grant money from Ottawa

A grant program aimed at promoting the sale of new homes in 1983 cost Ottawa twice as much as it had planned to spend.

Demand for grants high enough that Ottawa had to extend funding more than once in same year

Help for future homeowners

39 years ago
Duration 1:33
Sustained demand for a $3,000 grant for buyers of new homes surprised the Canadian government in 1983.

The word got out that there was money on the table and Ottawa eventually needed to provide more and more of it.

Starting in 1982, the federal government offered a targeted incentive program to entice people to purchase newly built homes.

The $3,000 grants quickly proved popular with home buyers, which prompted Ottawa to extend its original funding the following year — and later opting to extend it further due to sustained demand.

Still more money needed

Public Works Minister Romeo LeBlanc had found extra funding for the new-home grant program that had proven popular with the public in 1982 and 1983. (The National/CBC Archives)

"At first, the government was ready to shell out $100 million," the CBC's Marguerite McDonald reported on The National on May 26, 1983, when recapping the roll-out of the government program introduced in Canada the previous year.

"Then it threw in another $30 million in the April [1983] budget. That was supposed to meet the demand, but it didn't come close."

Under pressure to meet many more requests from would-be home buyers, the government looked for extra funds to meet the increased demand.

Public Works Minister Romeo LeBlanc told reporters that additional funding amounted to "roughly $75 million" and he signalled the program would not be extended any further.

"The opposition says the grants have been so popular that the government should find some way of continuing them, at least to the end of the year," said McDonald.

The CBC's Marguerite McDonald reported that the federal government was under pressure to further extend the new home grant program it had already spent more than $200 million on by the spring of 1983. (The National/CBC Archives)

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