GTHA could face new housing deficit by 2041: report

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is at risk of missing provincial population targets, according to a recent report from the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario. This deficit could result in 7,200 fewer new homes being built each year until 2041, which creates background for the recently introduced Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

The report, The GTHA’s Unbalanced Housing Stock: Benchmarking Ontario’s New LPAT System, says that up to 165,600 homes are at risk of not being built over the next 23 years. That could lead to an annual loss of $1.95 billion in GDP from residential construction activity if various barriers continue to block the goals set by the provincial growth plan, Places to Grow.

According to Paul Smetanin, president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), an important factor that will prevent the GTHA from hitting provincial home-building targets is the lack of medium-density housing starts, or the Missing Middle.

“Hamilton has made the most progress on the ‘Missing Middle’,” said Smetanin, in a press release. “Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, Newmarket less so, while Brampton is biased towards lower-density starts.”

Some issues plaguing the region’s most populated municipalities include:

  • Fifteen per cent of GTHA residents live in medium-density housing, which leads to an inadequate supply of appropriate housing types for a variety of household sizes and budgets;
  • Toronto’s number of annual housing starts is between five and 15 per cent higher than required to hit P2G targets, however the mix of housing is limited by land, which will result in the city’s supply highly favouring taller towers;
  • York Region is the only region in the GTHA with current annual housing starts expected to meet its future target population;
  • In municipalities with populations that top 80,000 residents, Oshawa, Brampton and Newmarket have the lowest share of higher-density starts;
  • Municipalities can better optimize infrastructure investments by basing community growth planning on long-term and strategic analysis of future housing requirements.

“We commissioned the report because we wanted to find out what the possible impacts of LPAT will be on delivering housing,” added Andy Manahan, executive director of the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario. “We will work with provincial and municipal government officials to help ensure that the transition to the new LPAT system is as seamless as possible and does not create negative consequences for the housing supply in the province.”

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