Grim predictions from the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Building Industry and Land Development Association pointed to an even more difficult year ahead for first-time buyers, amid growing purchase costs and ever-declining supply.
The TREB recently forecast that the average price of a home in the GTA will see double-digit percentage growth in 2017, up to an average of $825,000. Coupled with BILD figures noting that only 13,670 new homes were for sale in the GTA as of December (compared to 30,400 a decade ago), think-tanks and industry players are stressing that home ownership in the region is an increasingly unlikely prospect.
In a February 22 piece for the Toronto Star, Joe Vaccaro of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association and Tim Hudak of the Ontario Real Estate Association suggested various steps that the provincial government can take to address the affordability crisis head-on:
Amend the Growth Plan
“The provincial decision to apply a “one-size fits all” approach to growth will impose Toronto-style intensification on more than 100 municipalities. Instead of a blanket provincial preference for high density, give municipalities more flexibility and create more choice in homes for growing families and empty nesters such as family homes and townhomes.”
“[There] is huge opportunity to modernize outdated zoning laws to build the ‘missing middle’ of housing supply in existing communities that are connected to transit and closer to jobs,” the duo wrote. “This includes innovative solutions like laneway housing and multi-unit homes such as townhouses, stacked flats or mid-rise buildings. These are affordable and attractive options for millennials or empty nesters who would then put their family home onto the market.”
“It can take up to 10 years to go through the government approvals process before we build the housing supply needed for our growing population. These unnecessary delays stall housing construction, leaving less housing supply available for people, while contributing to escalating prices,” Vaccaro and Hudak explained.
“With better alignment of municipal and provincial housing priorities including requiring updated zoning around transit corridors, we can get new homes to the market quickly in exactly the places where we want them.”
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