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Higgins to introduce legislation to encourage US homeownership by Canadians

by jmaloni

Submitted

Thu, Jan 23rd 2014 04:20 pm

Congressman says bill establishing new visa for Canadians working in Canada and living in the U.S. would create economic opportunities for Western New York

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, has prepared legislation that will ease the ability for Canadians to own a home and live in the U.S. while working in Canada. The bill is aimed at providing new economic opportunities for the Buffalo/Niagara region while giving Canadians affordable living options just over the border.

"From our automobile factories to sports franchises and vacation rental properties, to retail outlets, the economies of Western New York and Southern Ontario are already deeply connected," Higgins said. "This legislation only seeks to further advance the mutually beneficial and intertwined economies of our two friendly nations by welcoming Canadians as U.S. homeowners."

The bill creates a new "W" visa for Canadian nationals who seek to enter the U.S. in order to purchase or rent a residence in America. It allows the spouse and/or minor children to accompany the visa holder.

Details:

•The visa is renewable every five years

•It is automatically approved if the visa-holder provides proof of continued ownership or rental of a residence in the U.S.

•It makes it clear the visa holder and his family are not authorized to work in the U.S.

•It states a W visa holder may keep his status even if he moves to a new residence.

Average home prices in the greater Niagara Region of Ontario are in excess of $280,000. Conversely, according to the U.S. Census, the median home value in Niagara Falls, N.Y., is $68,000.

Location

Median Home Value

Niagara Falls, N.Y.

$68,000

Buffalo, N.Y.

$66,700

Erie County, N.Y.

$123,000

Niagara County, N.Y.

$103,400

Fort Erie, Ontario

$184,884

Niagara Falls, Ontario

$204,736

Niagara-on-the-Lake

$371,298

Higgins announced the legislation in Niagara Falls, N.Y., where he is also fighting to improve neighborhoods by better connecting the community to its waterfront through the removal of the south portion of the Robert Moses Parkway, a project funded by the New York Power Authority.

"By making critical investments in the community and removing the barriers to arguably the most breathtaking waterfront in this nation, the resurgence of Niagara Falls is inevitable," Higgins said. "This bill is another tool to help push us in that direction."

Higgins is a member of the House of Representatives committees on foreign affairs and homeland security, and has served on the Northern Border Caucus and Interparlementary Exchange. His Western New York district borders Southern Ontario and includes three automobile and two rail crossings between the U.S. and Canada.

Higgins is seeking input from community partners, including chambers of commerce, government agencies, Realtors, economic development entities, transportation experts and others before finalizing and formally introducing the legislation. Comments should be directed to the congressman's Buffalo office.

For more information, call 716-852-3501.

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