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Blog Editorial Proposition Vote Compass 2019

Proposition 1: First-time home buyers (FTHBs)

As somebody who just bought a house in June, I know surprisingly little about what help the government offers to FTHBs. We didn’t qualify for the benefits that exist for FTHBs, since for my wife this is her second home purchase, and that meant that I didn’t even look at what would have been available, since it didn’t apply.

I think FTHBs get a tax credit, or a loan from the government at a lower interest rate, or something to help them be able to afford a house. My understanding is that most people use these incentives to buy a bigger house than they otherwise would have, which doesn’t necessarily help them financially, as it just gives them a bigger mortgage payment, which under equivalent circumstances means that while they may be more likely to buy a house, they’re also more likely to buy something they can’t actually afford.

In terms of policy, I would support helping young families to buy/rent housing, but perhaps through subsidized housing rather than cash/tax breaks which really help people who can already afford to buy more than those who still can’t under the FTHB policy. My own personal views are that for essentials like housing, nobody should be refused on the basis that they cannot pay, but that subsidies shouldn’t exist for everyone, they should ramp down as a person or families income ramps up.

Summary: I don’t actually know what the FTHBs policy is right now, but I think there’s definitely more than can be done to support young people in securing affordable housing that is sustainable and safe for them. In giving my answer, I went with my gut, without knowing what each party actually plans to do on this issue.

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