Tag Archives: housing affordability

5 steps

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

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5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

5 steps

Promising to create more housing supply was the first step, now industry leaders are calling on the Ford Government to action solutions that will bring much-needed supply into the marketplace and help solve the housing affordability issue facing many Ontarians.

This week, leaders from housing associations – the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Ontario Home Builders Association (OHBA) and the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) – gathered at the second annual Housing Summit event to examine bold policy prescriptions that will help Millennials get their hands on the keys to their first home.

“Keeping the dream of home ownership alive in Ontario requires bold policies and action from the provincial government,” says Tim Hudak, chief executive officer, OREA.

“First and foremost, to get more new homes in the marketplace, the building approvals process must be streamlined and zoning updated to allow for more homes in the right places. The best and fastest way to give Ontario’s first-time homebuyers a break is to eliminate the punishing land transfer tax for first-time buyers.”

“#Homebelievers know that government can support more housing choice and supply needed to make the great Canadian dream of home ownership a reality in existing, expanding, and established communities across Ontario,” adds OHBA chief executive officer Joe Vaccaro.

As advocates for greater home supply and home affordability in the province, OREA, OHBA and FRPO say the solutions to keeping housing within reach for young Ontarians include:

1 Speed up the planning approvals process

The home development approvals process can take up to 10 years in some parts of Ontario. Better alignment of municipal and provincial housing priorities, will get new homes to the market faster.

2 Build more homes and build them higher around and above transit stations

Use “As of Right” zoning to ensure housing intensification along rail transit lines and stations, exactly where many Millennials want and need them.

3 Provide first-time home buyer tax relief

Eliminate the land transfer tax for first-time homebuyers or dramatically increase the current rebate offered to first-timers.

4 Bring back the Ontario Municipal Board

The traditional role of the OMB has been to take the NIMBY out of housing decisions. Bringing back the OMB means evidence-based planning decisions, which will create more housing supply and choice.

5 Create new rental stock by reducing barriers and red tape

Adjust the annual rent increase guideline to CPI plus two per cent, implement a 20-year rent control rolling exemption on new construction and maintain vacancy decontrol.

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Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

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Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

Millennials Pic

There is great concern among GTA Millennials that they will be unable to afford a home, according to a new poll from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). 

The fear goes deeper, as GTA residents also expressed a lack of confidence about the likelihood their children will be able to remain in the communities where they grew up.

“According to a recent Centre for Urban Research and Land Development study, there are about 730,000 Millennials living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area who may be planning to move on from living in their parents’ homes and from sharing a dwelling with roommates in the next 10 years, potentially creating 500,000 new households,” says Dave Wilkes, BILD President and CEO.

KEY POLL RESULTS

When considering the issues in the municipal elections on Oct. 22, GTA residents say they are concerned with the ability of today’s youth to afford a home in the GTA, including:

  • 94 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 35
  • 84 per cent of respondents between the ages of 35 to 54
  • 80 per cent of respondents age 55 plus
  • 88 per cent of women and 82 per cent of men

Interestingly, although Millennials are concerned about the ability to own a home, they are also the most optimistic group regarding housing supply, with 41 per cent of them believing that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for the number of new residents that settle here every year. This is substantially higher than those age 35 to 54 (31 per cent) and those over 55 (27 per cent).

GTA residents are pessimistic in terms of their ability to achieve home ownership, as well as their children’s future abilities to afford homes in their communities. There is also a consensus among residents that the GTA has an inadequate supply of affordable housing being built, or that the city will be able to accommodate the 115,000 new residents that enter every year.

Source: 2018 Ipsos
Source: 2018 Ipsos

When picking a new home, 60 per cent of GTA residents say they value a neighbourhood that is walkable and bikeable, in addition to being within proximity to shopping, entertainment and government services. This is closely followed by those who prefer access to convenient transit (56 per cent) and proximity to work and school (54 per cent).

Nearly seven out of 10 respondents feel that their children will be unable to afford a home in the community where they grew up. These respondents agrees it is important for young families to be able to afford to live and work within the GTA without having to deal with long commutes.

When asked, “To what extent do you strongly or somewhat agree or disagree with the following”:

  • 92 per cent agree that the dream of home ownership is becoming more difficult to achieve for young people living in my city
  • 86 per cent agree that it is important that young families can afford to live and work within the GTA without having to commute over an hour to get to work
  • 39 per cent agree that there are enough homes being built in my city to help keep housing affordable
  • 33 per cent agree that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for roughly 115,000 new residents that settle here each year
  • 33 per cent agree that my children (or my friends’ children) will be able to afford a home in my community when they grow up

 

MILLENNIALS MOVING OUT

The best public policy is proactive, not reactive,” says Garry Bhaura, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. “We hope these poll results demonstrate that the time for municipal decision-makers to start thinking about housing choice and supply for all GTA residents who want to own a home is now.”

“In the next decade, we are likely to be part of a significant housing shift in our region, as a large wave of Millennials start looking for a place to live of their own,” adds Wilkes. “Add the estimated 115,000 new residents that come to the GTA every year, and the area will see itself in a housing crisis. I urge voters and candidates to learn more about BILD’s recommendations at buildforgrowth.ca.”

“With a municipal election just a few short weeks away, the public has an opportunity to ask candidates to commit to policies that will make it easier to fill their housing needs,” says John DiMichele, chief executive officer of TREB. “GTA homebuyers do not have adequate choice in housing available for sale or rent, and municipal government policy is one of the key reasons.

DiMichele suggests GTA residents visit UnlockMyHousingOptions.ca to send messages to candidates.

RELATED STORIES

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Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

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Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

Band-Aid solutions will not address a generational challenge

It seems that every month or so, a new poll is released that shows that housing affordability is top of mind for GTA residents, and almost every week media covers the issue from a variety of angles. Commentators examine residents’ ability to purchase a home, the percentage of income spent on rent, the impact of new government rules, housing availability and the far-reaching societal consequences of the current situation.

So far, government interventions have focused on the demand side, including efforts to keep rent down through rent control, increasing the cost of housing for non-residents through the Non-Resident Speculation Tax, and more stringent mortgage qualification requirements. These steps have had the desired cooling effect but, as evidenced by experience in other markets, the effects may be transitory as the market adjusts. These are Band-Aid solutions that address the symptoms but do not deal with the fundamental issue. If we are to truly solve the challenges facing the GTA housing market, governments also need to address the supply side of the equation.

Unfortunately, it takes a long time to add new housing in our region. The rules and processes that worked in the past now struggle to keep up. That means that these days it takes approximately 10 years to complete a new highrise or lowrise project in the GTA. It is not just a question of the actual construction, but also the planning, zoning, approvals, infrastructure and servicing of land required to support development. This slow pace of bringing new homes to market has two practical implications. First, it exacerbates tight supply in a high-demand region, keeping prices up. Second, it means that unless current population projections of 9.7 million people in the GTA by 2041 are wrong, or there is a significant increase in migration away from the region, affordability challenges will be with us for some time.

As the municipal election campaigns unfold, we have heard pledges focused on increasing housing supply. These campaign promises have tended to focus on increasing the supply of affordable rental properties rather than on increasing housing supply overall. There are two problems with this approach. Almost two-thirds of Canadians live in homes they own rather than rent and these efforts do little for those aspiring to own. More importantly, and sadly for those trying to put an affordable roof over their heads today, given the lead time for adding new housing stock, these campaign pledges will not materialize as new homes any time soon.

If there is to be a meaningful solution to the generational housing challenge facing the GTA, governments must focus on removing the barriers to adding new housing supply, at the pace required, in the density desired under provincial growth plans, and preferably with access to transit.

That is why, as the municipal elections approach, we are encouraging GTA residents to have conversations with their local candidates about housing affordability and supply. You can send an email to your candidates at BuildForGrowth.ca

Dave Wilkes is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on: Twitter.com/BILDGTA) Facebook.com/BILDGTA YouTube.com/BILDGTA and BILD’s official online blog: BILDBlogs.ca

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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Housing policies must focus on supply

THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Housing policies must focus on supply

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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Housing policies must focus on supply

Not enough new housing is being built for sale or rent and this results in higher prices, higher rents and long waits lists.

by Dave Wilkes
BILD

The other day I was listening to pundits on talk radio debating the issue of housing affordability — and what can be done to address the high cost of putting a roof over your head.

It sounded like the experts were talking right past each other, apparently discussing completely different issues. I realized it was because their definitions of housing affordability were different.

It seems to me, though, that some of the solutions can be the same. Housing affordability is a complex subject. At the risk of oversimplifying, there are really three different definitions. The first is housing — houses and condos — that the average family can afford to buy. The second definition is housing that the average person can afford to rent. And the third is not-for-profit rental housing, where collective ownership (co-op) or a degree of social assistance (subsidized housing) helps ensure that the cost of housing can be borne within the income of the resident.

All of these definitions of housing affordability are valid and all come with specific issues to address if affordability is to be tackled as an issue. Unfortunately, as is often the case with highly political topics, it is the differences that get debated — winners and losers get picked and opportunities get missed.

What is common to all three definitions is lack of supply. Not enough new housing is being built for sale or rent, and there is not enough not-for-profit rental housing to meet the need. This results in higher prices, higher rents and long wait lists. A number of factors affect the supply of all three forms of housing. All are subject to the same lengthy bureaucratic approvals process prior to being built. All three require land that is adequately serviced with existing infrastructure that can accommodate the increased usage (for infill projects) or new infrastructure if it is an entirely new development. Lastly, all three forms of housing are subject to layers of regulation, reliance on community acceptance and the political will that exerts influence on building projects around the GTA.

Any one of these factors can add cost, impact the number of new units that come to market, delay new housing from being built or halt construction entirely.

On the cost side, newly built homes that fall under the first two definitions are also subject to government fees and charges that increase purchase price or impact rental costs. BILD recently published a study on the government fees, taxes and charges applied to new homes in the GTA. It demonstrated that the layers of tax-on-top-of-tax added almost 25 per cent, or $186,500, to the price of an average single-family home in the GTA.

In the lead-up to this year’s municipal election, we need our governments not to pick winners and losers, but to focus on housing policies and reforms that can have broad benefits and increase housing supply.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and BILD’s official blog.


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Home Realty : The Missing Middle

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Home Realty : The Missing Middle

Creative concepts could do a lot help housing affordability

It’s the one thing everyone in the GTA seems to be talking about these days: the soaring price of real estate. It’s a sticky wicket to be sure, and it’s left many wondering if they’ll ever be able to find a place to call home in this bustling metropolis. Here are three creative concepts that could do much to alter the affordability equation.

LANEWAY HOUSING

The City of Toronto has more than 2,400 laneways and publicly owned corridors covering 250 linear kilometres. Laneway houses are small homes built above garages that face these laneways. Development of such secondary suites — which are serviced from the main house like a basement apartment — could inject considerably more affordable homes into the Toronto rental market. And advocacy groups, like Lanescape and Evergreen, are partnering with the city to look at ways to clear the bureaucratic path toward the development of laneway housing.

This kind of gentle intensification can add value to existing properties for owners, and, in providing a much needed infusion of supply into the rental market, provide more people access to affordable housing.

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY LANESCAPE

PARASITE HOMES

They’re known in Paris as “parasite homes,” and they would be an ingenious solution to the affordability problem here in the GTA. These apartments are perched upon the roofs of existing buildings. The prefabricated units are built offsite then bolted to the structure with steel supports, a construction process that takes under a year. And these units are priced 40 per cent cheaper than comparable properties.

Paris is calling for 70,000 new dwellings to be built each year, and parasite homes are a good way to squeeze all those new homes into the densely populated French capital. Parasite homes are an innovative idea and one that could help Toronto to provide more people with housing options they can afford. And building owners would also stand to make a good return for thinking a bit outside the box.

IN-LAW SUITES

Don’t let the name fool you. In-law suites — secondary dwellings within a home — can be rented out to anybody you choose. And they’re growing in popularity as more and more people in the GTA face affordability challenges.

In-law suites are cheaper to rent than standalone apartments and they provide an effective and relatively easy way for homeowners to pay off their mortgages or pad their retirement incomes. Of course, these suites can be used to house aging in-laws (but it’s probably not cool to charge granny rent). Or, perhaps more common in today’s economy, it could be the cash-strapped younger generations remaining at home, but wanting an independent living situation.

Secondary flats typically include sleeping and living areas, a basic kitchen and a separate entrance. They can be created via a garage conversion or basement reno. A unit could be a bump-out or addition on the home. Or it might be a separate cottage or a back house on the property.

Owners could also create an in-law apartment by combining rooms in the existing house without changing the original footprint.

The governing bodies of the GTA have to be more creative and open minded in dealing with the shortage and affordability issues in our housing market.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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CHBA president to talk housing affordability with feds

CHBA president to talk housing affordability with feds

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CHBA president to talk housing affordability with feds

Remi Network

Bob Finnigan, president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, or CHBA, heads to Ottawa this week to talk to the federal finance committee about housing affordability. Of particular concern for the group is one of the latest changes to mortgage rules, which expanded an existing stress test from a limited pool of prospective homebuyers to all insured borrowers.

The stress test raises loan eligibility rules by requiring prospective homebuyers to qualify for mortgages at a higher interest rate than what they will actually pay, as a way to gauge their ability to absorb interest-rate hikes. In some cases, the move disqualified prospective homebuyers who qualified for mortgages under the old rules, said Finnigan, and it has adversely affected markets outside of active regions such as Toronto and Vancouver.

https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/14503/


 

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January 2017 eNewsletter

Prime Minister and Maple Leafs boost Habitat for Humanity

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Prime Minister and Maple Leafs boost Habitat for Humanity

As Habitat for Humanity organizations across Canada prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 by hosting the 34th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, Habitat GTA was thrilled to receive a message of support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Habitat for Humanity GTA will be building 30 homes in Toronto as part of a nationwide effort to build 150 homes in partnership with 150 families.

While the Carters will focus their energy on major builds in Edmonton and Winnipeg, Habitat GTA will mark Canada’s 150th by building 30 safe, decent and affordable homes as part of the Carter Work Project.

Given the shortage of decent, affordable housing in the GTA and in many other communities across Canada, it couldn’t be a better time for the Carters to be coming to Canada to help build affordable homes.

The celebratory build will be held at Habitat’s Pinery Trail build site in Toronto during the week of July 9-14, 2017.

See a video of Jimmy Carter and Justin Trudeau at blog.habitatgta.ca/jimmy-rosalynn-carter-work-project

Leafs Score One for Family of Nine

On December 17, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted a special pre-game Centre Ice Dedication ceremony at the ACC to present the Yousuf family with a commemorative key to their new Habitat for Humanity home.

Alternate Captains Matt Hunwick, Tyler Bozak, Morgan Rielly and Leo Komarov gathered on the ice with the Yousuf family for the key presentation, followed by the singing of the Canadian and American national anthems before a crowd of 20,000 fans.

Earlier in the year, the Maple Leafs partnered with Habitat GTA as Title Home Sponsor of the new family home of Eskinder Yousuf, his wife Sayo and their seven children. Leafs players and staff volunteered their time and energy to help build and paint the home, and returned to deliver “Welcome Home” gifts to the family when the build was complete.

“The Toronto Maple Leaf franchise is woven into the fabric of Toronto; the communities and the people that make up this great city,” said Brendan Shanahan, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “Giving back to the city and the people who have given so much to the team is a priority for the Toronto Maple Leaf players, and our partnership with Habitat for Humanity GTA is an important part of this tradition.”

“Thanks to the great community support of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Brendan Shanahan,” said Ene Underwood, CEO of Habitat for Humanity GTA, “the Yousuf family is now living in an affordable home of their own where their seven children can grow and thrive. We truly appreciate the team’s community spirit and support throughout this project.”

See a video of the key ceremony at blog.habitatgta.ca/toronto-maple-leafs-host-pre-game-dedication-ceremony-for-yousuf-family

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Industry Report: GTA Land-Use Regulations Hurt Affordability – Oct2016

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Industry Report: GTA Land-Use Regulations Hurt Affordability – Oct2016

Municipal regulations in the GTA are limiting housing supply and making new homes less affordable, says a new study by the Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute.

Supply is important because the degree to which growing demand for homes drives price increases depends on the supply of housing, said the report.

The Fraser Institute measured the impact of regulation by analyzing five regulatory measures across 68 Canadian municipalities. Approval timelines, timeline uncertainty, rezoning, regulatory costs and fees, as well as the impact of council and community groups were looked at. Researchers found that the most heavily regulated cities, Toronto and Vancouver, had the least growth in housing supply and the higher prices.

According to the report, long and uncertain project approval timelines were the most harmful to supply. It said that a six month delay in getting permits reduces the growth of new housing by more than half.

While the findings are certainly eye-opening, they are nothing new. For years BILD has pointed to delays in the approvals process as a barrier to supply and a contributing factor to our region’s challenges with housing affordability. In the GTA it often takes as long as 10 years for a development to get approved, which significantly increases the price of new homes.

Streamlining the planning approval process by removing red tape and updating zoning bylaws are a few of the things our industry has advocated for to help address affordability.

The report recommends reforming municipal regulation to encourage more building. It says that simplifying the building permits process where housing demand has grown could lower homebuilding costs, increase supply and help reduce home prices.

The study said opposition from council and community groups was another major factor in decreasing supply. BILD has pointed out many times that much of the opposition to development in the GTA is due to a disconnect between public policy and public perception. Provincial policy mandates density and intensification throughout the region. However there is little public understanding or support for intensification. We continue to encourage governments to educate the public on how and why their neighbourhoods are changing.

According to the report, housing affordability in the GTA is a relatively new issue. Findings showed that Toronto’s housing prices grew slower than the rest of urban Canada prior to 2009, but since then prices have grown faster than any other urban centre.

 

BRYAN TUCKEY is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and is a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments. He can be found on Twitter (twitter.com/bildgta), Facebook (facebook.com/bildgta), and BILD’s official online blog (bildblogs.ca).

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