Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan does not do enough to address the housing supply crisis currently at issue in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, warns Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), an organization representing more than 200 of Ontario’s residential builders.
“We all want to see an improved situation for homeowners, new-home buyers and renters,” Lyall says. “But the Plan’s 16 initiatives will tighten the market for all forms of shelter, which will make finding a new home or rental even harder.” Here’s why:
1. The Fair Housing Plan will cool investment in purpose-built rentals
Thousands of units now will not be built. The Wynne government’s new rental control will impede builders’ ability to construct purpose-built rentals – which means it will be harder to increase housing supply in the coming years.
“We have already heard of purpose-built rental projects being shelved after [the Wynne government’s] announcement,” Lyall says. “And while the government’s $25-million-per-year development charge rebate will provide incentive to build rental properties, this figure requires perspective: for a rapidly growing province of 13.6 million people, this is just a drop in the bucket.”
According to Lyall, well over $10 billion worth of all forms of shelter will be needed each year for 10 years to meet growing demand.
2. More red tape? It already causes three-year waits for Toronto condo owners
One of the biggest problems that extends new-home buyers’ waiting times is a very slow approvals process, Lyall says. This keeps buyers out of newly purchased condo suites in Toronto, for example, for up to three years because of extended wait times for building and planning approvals, according to research by RESCON and the University of Toronto.
“Red tape makes a tangible impact on the lives of homebuyers, according to our research,” Lyall says. “The government should streamline the regulatory process so that we can increase the supply that’s desperately needed here.”
3. Housing supply continues to worsen, as 100,000 people come to the GTHA every year
“People are scrambling to find shelter. They need deep pockets to purchase a new home or pay for temporary shelter costs. Meanwhile, builders are running out of serviced land to build on, and the new housing inventory has fallen by about 50 per cent since last year,” Lyall says. “We need the government’s proposed Housing Supply Team to start work immediately, or the market will hit fever pitch again this year.”