“As the federal, provincial and local levels of government discuss housing policy in the coming months, issues affecting the lack of supply in the GTA should be of paramount importance,” Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua said. “TREB will be undertaking, and making public, results of additional research in the second half of 2016, with the goal of proactively adding to the housing policy discussion.”
Cerqua’s statement represents an interesting deviation from the norm usually presented in monthly real estate board releases, which often focus on the near past and future expected performance of a market.
But it’s not entirely unexpected, given the issues plaguing Toronto – the country’s second priciest housing market.
“As I start my term as TREB President, we are certainly in an interesting environment for ownership housing,” Cerqua said. "There is no doubt that demand is at a record level, but would-be home buyers continue to face an uphill battle against a constrained supply of listings, which has perpetuated strong price growth.”
His comments come on the heels of Mortgage Professionals Canada calling for more data from various industry instritutions to better help the government make informed policy decisions.
“Mortgage lenders who are concerned about current risk-taking could very easily and very usefully add to the discussions by publishing data from their own businesses, especially with regard to Gross Debt Service Ratios and Total Debt Service Ratios,” the broker association recently wrote in its report, Looking for balance in Canadian housing and mortgage markets
, written by Chief Economist Will Dunning.
It continued: “To what extent do these ratios vary across communities? Are some communities showing more risk-taking than others? To what extent have these ratios changed over time? Are the ratios higher now than in the past?”
It remains to be seen what TREB’s additional research will entail and, indeed, what help it will provide policymakers; but, as all industry players will agree, additional data can do nothing but help the housing industry.
One association has decided to provide additional real estate data to help policymakers make more informed decisions, following calls from the industry to do so.