Source: Unsplash

Canada must build 1.096 houses every minute for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fulfil his housing goals.

Trudeau posted to X on Thursday that his Liberal government would build almost four million new homes by 2031.

“We’re going to change the way homes are built in Canada. And we’re going to create a new generation of homeowners,” said Trudeau.

The prime minister’s newest promise echoes Trudeau’s promises in September 2015, when his Liberal party promised affordable housing for Canadians. 

At the time of his initial promise, the average house in Canada cost $448,000. In February 2024, the average cost of a house was $719,000, an increase of over 60%.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre responded after Freeland delivered the budget in the House of Commons, critiquing Trudeau’s ninth consecutive budget with a deficit after the prime minister said that the budget would balance itself.

“Everything he’s spending on has gotten worse. He promised that the deficits would make housing affordable, but it ended up doubling the cost of rent and mortgage payments and down payments to buy a house.”

While the actual number promised in the federal budget is below four million, at 3.87 million new homes, many people in Trudeau’s replies helped him with the math.

Independent MP Kevin Vuong replied to Trudeau on X, saying he knew math wasn’t the prime minister’s strength, so he’d help him with the calculations.

“With your track record, you expect us to believe you’re building a house a minute?” asked Vuong, after showing the calculations that 1.13 homes per minute would need to be built to reach Trudeau’s goal of 4 million new homes.

To build 3.87 million homes by 2031, Trudeau would have 2,449 days since the day of his post to accomplish his goal. He would have to build 576,786 houses per year.

The ambitious plan laid out in the budget said that the goal of 3.87 million new homes would include 2 million net new homes on top of the 1.87 million homes expected to be built by 2031.

Between 2015 and 2023, Canadian housing starts were anywhere from 195,535 to 271,198 per year, averaging 225,104 houses built per year, according to Statistics Canada.

Between 2022 and 2023, housing starts fell by over 21,000 units.

Based on the current average, the Liberals won’t even accomplish their goal of the 1.87 million homes expected to be built by 2031, let alone the 2 million new homes.

To accomplish his goal, Trudeau would have to find a way to build over 65.84 houses per hour and 1.096 houses per minute.

In the Liberals’ new housing plan, published on Apr. 11, the party said that their plan commits to making housing affordable.

“No hard-working Canadian should have to spend more than 30% of their income on shelter costs,” said the plan.

True North previously reported that housing affordability in Canada recently reached an all-time low.

The median household in Canada has to spend an unprecedented 63.5% of its income to afford the mortgage. In Vancouver, an average household has to spend 106.3% of its income to cover homeownership costs.

The United States’ population is over 8.5x larger than Canada’s. Despite this, the United States only builds 1.521 million homes annually. Trudeau’s current goal would require Canada’s housing construction per capita to be almost three times higher than the United States.

Part of Trudeau’s 2019 campaign promises was a commitment to planting 2 billion trees. The $3.2 billion program launched in 2021. The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development audited the program.

The audit found that in 2021, 1.5% of the 10-year goal of 2 billion trees was met. In 2022, 2.3% of the goal was met. 

“It is unlikely that the program will meet its objectives unless significant changes are made,” concluded the audit.

The record for Canada’s housing starts was 273,203 in 1976. Canada would have to more than double that for the next seven straight years to reach its goal. 

1.096 houses per minute. No weekends off. No days off. No minutes.