Industry leaders are calling on the Ford government to take action to implement solutions to make it easier and more efficient to bring much-needed housing supply to market. The goal is to improve housing affordability specifically for millennials.
Members of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Ontario Home Builders Association (OHBA) and the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) gathered at the second annual Housing Summit event to discuss potential solutions.
OREA, OHBA, and FRPO members were joined by economists, academics, MPPS, other industry leaders, and senior government officials, including the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark.
“Keeping the dream of homeownership alive in Ontario requires bold policies and action from the provincial government,” says Tim Hudak, Chief Executive Officer, OREA. “First and foremost, to get more new homes in the marketplace, the building approvals process must be streamlined and zoning updated to allow for more homes in the right places. The best and fastest way to give Ontario’s first-time homebuyers a break is to eliminate the punishing land transfer tax for first-time buyers.”
Here are the housing solutions that could improve housing affordability for millennials:
1) Speed up planning approvals
According to a release from the housing organizations, the home development approvals process can take up to 10 years in some parts of Ontario. Municipal and provincial priorities must be aligned in order to speed up the process. The longer the approvals process takes, the more expensive the housing will be when it comes to market.
2) Build more and higher above transit stations
Millennials want to live near transit, so high density housing developments should be focused around and above transit stations. The Housing Summit recommends “As of Right” zoning to ensure intensification in these areas.
3) First-time buyer tax relief
There is currently a land transfer tax rebate for first-time buyers, but the housing leaders would like to see the tax repealed completely, or at the very minimum increase the rebate. The way it works now, the rebate would cover around 100% of a first-time buyer’s land transfer taxes if the home was purchased for around $367,990. If the home is priced any higher, the first-time buyer will be required to pay land transfer tax on the remaining amount after the rebate is applied.
4) Bring back the Ontario Municipal Board
Earlier this year, the OMB was shuttered to make way for the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The housing leaders say that the OMB was better equipped to take the NIMBY factor out of planning decisions.
5) Create new rental inventory
New rental inventory can be created by reducing the amount of red tape involved in the development process. The province can also “adjust the annual rent increase guideline to CPI plus 2%, implement a 20-year rent control rolling exemption on new construction and maintain vacancy decontrol.”
“#Homebelievers know that government can support more housing choice and supply needed to make the great Canadian dream of homeownership a reality in existing, expanding, and established communities across Ontario,” says Joe Vaccaro, Chief Executive Officer, OHBA.