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Toronto vote

Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

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Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

Toronto vote

With municipal elections only days away, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released recommendations on what newly elected councillors, mayors, and regional chairs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can do to ensure housing affordability and choice for homebuyers and renters.

TREB also released the results of responses received from more than 200 municipal election candidates from across the GTA. Candidates were asked to respond to a TREB survey asking for their views on key housing issues that are the subject of TREB’s recommendations.

“A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs showed that housing affordability was a top-of-mind issue for voters in this election,” says TREB President Garry Bhaura. “Housing affordability is a priority for voters, and they want it to be a priority for the incoming municipal councils. Based on the candidate survey responses that TREB received, it appears that housing affordability is also a priority for many candidates.”

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 95 per cent of responding candidates in Toronto, and 86 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that, if elected, they would advocate for updating municipal zoning by-laws and policies to encourage more medium density housing.
  • 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates indicated that they would be willing to consider reforms to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust it for inflation; 84 per cent of responding GTA candidates indicated that they would, if elected, oppose proposals for any new municipal land transfer tax.
  • 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 79 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would support efforts to reduce planning approval times and red tape to facilitate new housing supply.
  • 97 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 96 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would, if elected, advocate for funding from senior levels of government for infrastructure investments.

MISSING MIDDLE

TREB has also released three new policy briefs on “missing middle” housing supply, housing-related municipal red tape, and infrastructure needs for housing supply, in addition to a brief issued earlier in the campaign on the impact of municipal land transfer taxes. TREB’s recommendations call for newly elected municipal councils to support the creation of much needed housing supply and options.

TREB is calling on councils to:

  • Review municipal zoning by-laws and consider changes to allow for more mid-density development such as townhomes.
  • Resist community opposition and work with neighbourhoods  by improving communication strategies to articulate the ability of mid-density developments to be seamlessly integrated into existing neighbourhoods.
  • Prevent any new municipal land transfer taxes in the rest of the GTA.
  • Reform the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust the first-time home buyer rebate, and the threshold price at which the higher tax rate kicks in, for inflation, so both keep pace with the current average home price in Toronto now sitting at around $800,000.
  • Conduct reviews of municipal planning approval processes for new housing applications with a goal of streamlining and shortening the process.
  • Recognize the importance of infrastructure as it relates to housing supply and affordability, and move ahead with critical projects and investments such as regional transit as a key part of strategies targeted to addressing housing needs.

 

RELATED READING

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

Keesmaat’s 100,000 housing plan doomed to fail

 

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Toronto

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

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6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

Toronto

By Wayne Karl

The countdown is on – just days to go to the 2018 Ontario municipal elections. In Toronto, in what’s shaping up to be a two-horse race between Mayor John Tory and challenger Jennifer Keesmaat, housing is one of the key issues.

But it’s not the only city or town in and around the GTA where real estate development is a hot topic.

Here’s a select list of a few more municipal elections to watch, and we might as well start with the biggest and highest profile municipality:

TORONTO

Incumbent: John Tory
Challenger: Jennifer Keesmaat
What’s at stake: Housing affordability, or the lack thereof. Both Tory and Keesmaat have announced plans to address the growing affordability issue in the city – what some describe as a crisis. Keesmaat wants to build 100,000 units of “truly affordable, high-quality housing in the next 10 years.” This is a plan some sources in the industry have already declared as doomed to fail.

Tory proposes to build 40,000 affordable rental units over 12 years, or roughly 3,300 annually.

The challenge for both? Defining what affordable housing even is, in a city with median home prices of $883,892, andthe most expensive average one-bedroom rent in the country, $1,900 per month.

Home builders have been lobbying the City and the Province to address land supply and other policies which complicate this already complex issue.

 

MARKHAM

Markham

Incumbent: Frank Scarpitti
Challenger(s): Steven Chen, Shan Hua Lu, Abdul Rahman Malik, Jawed Syed
What’s at stake: As the fourth most populous community in the GTA after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, Markham has been a hotbed for economic growth and development for years. It has also become one the most expensive housing markets, with median home prices of almost $1 million for the third quarter of 2018, according to Royal LePageAnd Scarpitti, first elected in 2006 and known as developer- and builder- friendly, has been there through much of it.

 

BRAMPTON

Brampton

Incumbent: Linda Jeffrey
Challenger(s): Mansoor Ameersulthan, former Ontario PC Party leader Patrick Brown, Baljit Gosal, Wesley Jackson, Vinod Kumar Mahesan, John Sprovieri
What’s at stake: Brampton is booming, and Jeffrey is seeking a second term after winning the 2014 election with almost 50 per cent of the vote.

Vision 2040 is an ambitious long-term plan to reinvent Brampton, and includes transformations such as model new neighbourhoods connected by an expanding transit network, new core loop, walking and cycling networks, communities designed to promote walking, and a new eco-park and sustainability built into everything.

There’s also a significant education infrastructure project that will bring a new Ryerson University campus, with Sheridan College as an academic partner, to downtown Brampton for 2022. Oh, along with thousands of students.

 

ORANGEVILLE

Orangeville

Incumbent: Jeremy Williams
Challenger(s): Sandy Brown, Darrin Davidson
What’s at stake: Been to Orangeville lately? It’s no longer a sleepy little pit-stop town as you drive north to Collingwood or Georgian Bay.

With new home and community development taking place, particularly in the west part of town, the biggest challenge Orangeville faces is urbanization. Williams wants to preserve the small town feel and welcome development, while avoiding becoming a discount housing destination for people moving north out of the Toronto area.

Brown, a local realtor, likely understands the issues, and wants to “arrest out of control spending.”  He says Orangeville residents pay the highest property taxes in the GTA.

 

OSHAWA

Oshawa

Incumbent: Current mayor of Oshawa John Henry has given up his seat to run as Durham’s regional chair
Challenger(s): Kenneth Carruthers, Dan Carter, Joe Ingino, Adam Kunz, Sara Lear, Rosaldo Russo, Bob Rutherford
What’s at stake: In short, continued growth in population and economic diversity, which drive housing demand. Oshawa’s population grew to 379,848 in 2016, according to the 2016 Census, up 6.6 per cent from 2011. This is second in the entire province only to Guelph – and even ahead of Toronto at 6.2 per cent.

Oshawa is expected to boast one of the fastest growing economies in the province this year, with growth of 2.6 per cent, according to the Conference Board of Canada. And this is down from 3.2 per cent in each of the last two years.

In terms of housing development, several builders are active in the area with lowrise homes. Homebuyers are liking the comparative bargains and the proximity to Toronto.

 

BARRIE

Barrie

Incumbent: Jeff Lehman
Challenger: Ram Faerber
What’s at stake: Lehman is seeking his third term, while local businessman Faerber is looking to unseat him.

Barrie ceased being a weekend destination years ago, and has become a favourite among real estate investors for its population growth and the job opportunities that come with a growing and increasingly diverse local economy.

However, as a smaller centre (population of 197,059,up 5.4 per cent from 2011), Barrie is sometimes subject to market swings. Median home prices slipped five per cent for the third quarter of 2018, from the same period last year, to $505,136. Some shorter-term good news, however, is that prices are up 0.4 per cent from the second quarter of this year.

Wayne Karl is Senior Digital Editor at Homes Publishing. wayne.karl@homesmag.com 

RELATED READING

Keesmaat’s 100,000 housing plan doomed to fail

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

Housing policies must focus on supply

 

 

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Millennials Pic

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.

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GTA New home market

GTA new home market quiet in August

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GTA new home market quiet in August

GTA New home market

August was a quiet month for the GTA new home market, as buyers waited on the sidelines, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 974 total new home sales in August, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Single-family home sales, with 171 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were up 50 per cent from last August but down 80 per cent from the 10-year average. Condominiums in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounted for 803 new home sales, down one per cent from August 2017 and down 28 per cent from the 10-year average.

August’s sales numbers should not be interpreted as a sign that there is a shortage of interested buyers in the GTA, according to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “Pent-up demand is forming, which suggests we should see sales start to firm up this fall.”

WAIT AND SEE

Many potential new-home buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach due to the effects of government interventions to cool the housing market and concerns about the future direction of the economy, says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “Once the market adjusts and more people start looking for homes, our region’s short supply of housing will mean that affordability will continue to be a challenge for many new-home buyers.”

In August, the benchmark price of new condominiums rose to $784,512, up 21.8 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price of new single-family homes was $1.12 million, down 12.4 per cent over the last year.

With only two projects opening in August, the remaining new home inventory decreased to 13,619 units, comprising 8,842 condo units and 4,777 single-family units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.

SUPPLY ISSUE

To truly solve the challenges facing the GTA housing market, Wilkes says, governments need to address the supply side of the equation. “Municipal governments, in particular, can make a big difference. Ahead of the municipal elections in the GTA, BILD has been talking to municipal leaders and residents about straightforward steps that municipalities can take to increase housing supply, including making sure that government charges on new homes are fair, funding and building critical infrastructure, cutting red tape and speeding up building permits and inspections.

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GTA luxury market set for a strong fall season

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