Industry Report: Public Housing Concerns that Municipal Candidates Need to Listen to
The GTA is expected to be one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in all of North America through to 2041, with approximately 115,000 new residents arriving each year. Where all of these new residents will live is one of the biggest challenges the region faces, especially given the present tight housing supply and the slow pace of new homebuilding — mired by bureaucracy and red tape.
How policy makers, urban planners, developers and existing residents address the housing supply challenge will shape lives and communities for the next generation.
In just over a month, candidates will begin to declare their intention to run in this year’s municipal election. During the approach to election day on October 22, our organization will outline some of the challenges facing housing supply in the region to help inform readers and spur discussions on this important topic.
To understand public sentiment, BILD asked visitors to the recent National Home Show to share their thoughts and opinions about housing issues in the GTA. Just over 1,000 attendees shared their thoughts and, given the housing market over the last few years, the results were telling.
Affordability remains a high priority, but surprisingly almost half the respondents were not aware of municipal taxes and fees levied on new home development that are embedded in the final price of the home. When told about these added costs, almost two-thirds of people underestimated their impact on a home’s final sale price.
We also found an expectation gap. The overwhelming preference was for larger dwellings in less-dense communities — traditional single-family homes — but because of government intensification targets, significantly less of these types of homes are being built today than even a decade ago. The result is high demand and high price for less inventory options.
Lastly, the appetite for local action was palpable. Over twothirds of respondents felt that local governments are not doing enough to encourage the building of homes that people can afford.
Less than one-quarter felt that municipalities and councillors are doing enough to plan for future housing requirements. This sentiment appeared driven by concerns shared by almost three-quarters of respondents on their (or their children’s) ability to purchase a home in the GTA. Not surprising then, over twothirds of respondents indicated they would support municipal council candidates who pledged to fix the housing supply issue as part of their election platform.
While this was not a scientific survey, it outlines concerns about housing that municipal candidates need to become engage in.
The months leading to election day provides all of us with opportunities to talk about housing’s role in shaping the GTA communities where we live, work and play.
DAVE WILKES is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).