Millennials are enduring the worst effects of the continuous home price growth in Toronto, a problem that might only intensify in the near future as demographics shift and new mortgage rules exert their hold on the market.
In her October 25 column for The Globe and Mail
, Margaret Wente said that young professionals and starting families are facing the greatest housing risks they have in decades—and the usual suspects such as overseas capital do not apply in this case.
“Population pressures, foreign investors, land shortages and greedy developers usually get the blame. But there’s another culprit: government. The affordability crisis in the greater Toronto area is a direct result of provincial government policy,” Wente wrote.
“To put it bluntly, the Liberals at Queen’s Park – the vast majority of whom already have nice houses – are shafting the millennials.”
Wente, notorious for several extremely contentious opinion pieces in the past, assailed the government’s choices in developing Toronto’s land.
“The Liberal government has decided what kinds of places people ought to live in – high-density units in dense neighbourhoods that can justify public transit. So it has heavily skewed its land-use rules toward apartments and condos – even far beyond Toronto, where there is no shortage of land,” Wente stated.
The continuous population growth in the city makes this strategy untenable, the columnist argued.
“As for the idea that housing prices will come down just as soon as all those boomers move into condos, don’t hold your breath. Most boomers don’t want to move to condos, as it turns out. And the flood of newcomers into the region won’t be slowing down any time soon,” Wente said.
“Unfortunately, neither immigrants nor millennials who are starting families want to raise their kids in apartments. They want to live in single-family houses with a yard. But because the government controls the market, the normal rules of supply and demand do not apply. With hardly any new single-family houses on the market, prices have soared.”
Wente concluded that the only way that the government can solve the housing crisis is to address both supply and demand by establishing a “sensible balance” between the two, without sacrificing the environment in the process.
“Central planners who think we can’t should be required to raise their families in an apartment block in Oshawa and take the bus to work. They’d find a better way soon enough.”
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