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Province should address affordability: OHBA, OREA

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)’s population growth and strong economy has created a high demand housing market where housing supply is critically low and home prices are becoming too steep for many families and first-time home buyers, say the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

The OHBA and OREA are calling on the provincial government to create a housing experts task force to provide ideas for increasing housing supply in Ontario, which would ease the growing home affordability challenges many Ontarians are facing.

“The Canadian dream of home ownership is at risk in the GTA. This is the year for provincial and municipal governments to step up with solutions to ensure the dream of home ownership does not slip away from future generations,” said Tim Hudak, CEO of OREA, in a press release. “The housing supply issue is a real problem, but the solutions exist. We need the government to get real estate experts together on this issue, to hammer out a plan for putting more homes on the market and making home ownership more affordable for young families and first-time buyers.”

The OHBA and OREA have provided a few suggestions that the government could take to relieve the underlying housing supply crunch, including:

  1. Fixing the “one size fits all” growth plan – give municipalities more flexibility and create more choice in housing for growing families and empty nesters.
  2. Improving the planning approvals process – with municipal and provincial housing priorities better aligned, including the requirement for updated zoning around transit corridors, new homes can come to market quickly in locations where they’re needed.
  3. Addressing the “missing middle” of housing supply – the modernization of outdated zoning laws to create supply in existing communities that are connected to transit and closer to jobs, including solutions such as laneway housing, townhouses, stacked flats or mid-rise buildings.
  4. Target infrastructure to support new housing supply – the province should support new housing supply with targeted infrastructure investments to bring more housing to the market.

“Ninety-five per cent of Ontario’s new housing supply is built by our industry, and new home prices reflect the market conditions affected by government policy, like municipal and provincial approvals. It only makes sense to bring together private sector expertise and government policy makers if we are serious about making home ownership more affordable,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO of OHBA.

The OHBA and OREA agree that sustainable, long-term solutions are necessary to fix the affordability problem, and it starts with increasing housing supply. Together, they are appealing to the provincial government to take stock of the housing supply issue and work with real estate industry leaders to design solutions that will improve affordability for all Ontarians.

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