Yesterday, the Build for Growth campaign launched at Mississauga, Toronto and Vaughan locations, spearheaded by the Building Industry and Land Development Association. BILD President Dave Wilkes highlighted the main issues impacting housing affordability, and what to keep in mind leading up to the municipal elections in October.
It is projected that the Greater Toronto Area’s population will hit 9.7 million by 2041, with approximately 115,000 new residents moving here each year. Based on the expected population increases, the GTA requires around 55,000 new homes every year to accommodate the growth. In 2017, only 44,000 new home were built.
The Build for Growth campaign highlights four major issues that should be priorities in the upcoming election:
1) Make sure government fees, taxes, and charges are fair and equitable
2) Fund and build critical infrastructure that supports development
3) Cut red tape: making our communities investment-ready
4) Adopt a standard of service excellence
The overall issue is that new home supply can’t keep up with demand, and there are many factors causing delays in the development of new communities, but the issues vary from region to region.
For example, in Toronto, the Inclusionary Zoning planning tool if not implemented properly could cause builders to increase the price of market units in order to offset the prices of the mandated affordable housing. Of course, affordable housing is crucial and that’s what this is all about, but the planning tools need to be carefully devised.
Another issue in Toronto is that 80% of building permits are going through the rezoning process. The longer a project takes to get approved, the more expensive it’s going to be. Costs pile up over time like in all other industries.
Then we have an area like Durham where government taxes, fees, and charges can account for 25% of the cost of a new home. In Halton, nimbyism is forcing municipalities to seek cultural heritage landscape designation when a controversial development is proposed. It’s definitely important to protect natural landscapes, but it shouldn’t be a mechanism for people who simply don’t want construction or mid- to high-density housing in their neighbourhood.
Housing affordability is a complex matter and the solution is multifaceted. What is clear is that increasing new home supply to meet demand is key. How we do that is up to you, your local councillor, and the new home building industry.