This month kicked off with a busy Toronto City Council meeting; many of the decisions made could have a big impact on the city’s housing market. We’ve highlighted a few for you.
1) The Tenants First strategy
The Tenants First report has a few recommendations and council has implemented a few of them, including new City programs and services being offered at more than 80 senior-designated buildings run by Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Also, TCHC will not be permitted to permanently close any additional housing units in 2018 and 2019.
So, seniors will be better served in Toronto and the city will hopefully see an increase in affordable community housing over the next couple years.
2) Push for sustainable development
Council approved the motion to reduce Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 as part of TransformTO: Pathway to a Low Carbon Future. The initiative aims to protect the environment and our health by transforming our buildings, energy, transportation, and waste systems.
This means we could eventually see some new legislation outlining higher standards of energy efficiency in Toronto’s residential developments. This is a good thing, and shouldn’t really be a surprise that the City is aiming for a cleaner, healthier future.
3) New rules for King Street
The King Street Pilot was approved to move forward starting this fall. The goal of the Pilot is to improve the transit and pedestrian realm on King Street, between Jarvis and Bathurst. This means that there will be no through traffic for cars. Streetcar patrons are being prioritized. The Pilot will run for at least a year. If successful, it could become permanent and applied to other busy transportation routes in the core.
For condo buyers looking to live on or near King Street, this is either great news or bad news. For the most part, it’s probably great news because if you want to live on King, there’s a good chance you don’t drive downtown. But, there are definitely people who live in the heart of downtown who still prefer to drive, so we can see how this may be frustrating news. Hopefully the Pilot is so successful, it convinces downtown residents who travel on King to sell their cars!
4) Vacancy tax
No, Toronto does not have a vacancy tax yet (a tax homeowners would pay on property that is vacant), but council decided to move forward with consultations and a study to outline the benefits of such a tax. We should hear later this fall whether or not the city is thinking of moving forward with implementing it.
If there was a vacancy tax, the rental market would probably see an increase in supply, and there’s also a chance that some investors may think twice about purchasing a new unit.
5) Raising families in condos
Council approved the use of the Growing Up guidelines to evaluate new multi-unit residential developments. The goal is to ensure Toronto is building condos that are appropriate environments for children. There is also a chance that there will be space in new developments prioritized for non-profit, licensed childcare facilities.
New condo developments in the near future may be advertising daycares as an amenity!
For the most part, all these changes are for the best. It’s just a matter of the City and new home industry taking the right steps to make it all happen.