Housing plan misses mark: Association head

Housing plan misses mark: Association head

Housing plan misses mark: Association head Ontario’s new housing policy doesn’t address the major underlying issue in the market, according to president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA).

The Canadian Homebuilders Association has long been on record saying Toronto is suffering from a dearth of housing supply, and that is the major cause of affordability issues.

So does it think the new housing plan sufficiently addresses the lack of the supply?

“In a word – no. We have agreed strongly that it’s a supply issue here and really none of the actions will increase the housing supply,” Bob Finnigan, president and COO of the CHBA, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “They talk about leveraging surplus provincial land, the power to tax vacant homes … that’s OK. (But) the bottom line is there is no quick, easy fix to housing supply.”

Last week, the Ontario government unveiled its new housing plan, entitled the “Fair Housing Plan,” which includes 16 measures aimed at making housing more affordable for its citizens.

Within the package were six actions to increase housing supply.

They include; establishing a plan to leverage unused provincial land, introducing legislation that will include a vacant home tax, implementing tax policy for multi-family residential buildings similar to residential property tax, introducing a $125 million program to encourage construction of new rental apartments, providing municipalities the ability to use property tax tools to unlock development opportunities, and creating a new Housing Supply Team that will identify barriers to development projects.

These measures, however, fall short according to Finnigan.

“The only encouraging part of that is they’re going to set up the housing advisory group. That is going to be the one that will provide information back to the government and tell them exactly what is going on,” he said. “The problem is there is a severe lack of information that they’re working with, in terms of what the actual supply of housing is.”

However, some industry players have commended the government for its plan – particularly the housing supply policies.

“Our goal as Realtors is to keep the dream of home ownership within reach for millennials, first-time home buyers and young families. We had over a dozen meetings with Premier Wynne, Finance Minister Sousa, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Housing Minister Chris Ballard and other senior staff to bring our ideas on home affordability forward,” OREA CEO Tim Hudak said following the housing plan’s announcement. “We’re pleased to see that the government has listened. For one, increasing the supply of homes is the best way to give buyers a better shot at home ownership and the government has committed to working with municipalities to remove the barriers to getting more new homes and listings on the market faster.”

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