Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research & Land Development recently released an “Action Plan,” aiming to improve housing affordability in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Seven policy recommendations are presented, all working towards the goal of increasing “the availability of affordable ground-related and mid-density housing.”
Here are the main points:
“1) Requiring municipalities to have a five year supply of shovel-ready sites for a range of housing types
2) Expediting the expansion of municipal sewer and water infrastructure
3) Enforcing municipal compliance with provincial policy to allow secondary suites to increase the supply of affordable rental housing
4) Encouraging municipalities to fast track the availability of sites for mid-density units, like stacked townhouses
5) Delaying municipal use of inclusionary zoning until further research on its housing market impacts is completed
6) Conducting an in-depth review of Ontario’s land-use planning system
7) Retaining the Non-Resident Speculation Tax for the foreseeable future and use the proceeds to fund sewer and water infrastructure”
Number 6 is a big one. When demand is strong and supply can’t keep up, then prices will go up. The land-use planning system should make it easy to respond to spikes in demand, but it’s sluggish. There is a shortage of serviced sites for new housing in the GGH, and not just for ground-related housing.
CUR makes a good point in the report, drawing attention to the fact that Toronto is divided into two segments; ground-related and high-rise residential. Unfortunately, stacked townhomes and low- and mid-rise multi-unit dwellings have been relatively ignored.
Some homebuyers have the dream of owning a large detached home on a huge lot, but it’s time for the industry, government, and residents to open up to other possibilities. If you don’t like high-rise condo living, then there should be a wide selection of stacked townhomes and boutique condos available, but there aren’t. They definitely exist, but there aren’t nearly as many units as in high-rises.
And there’s a good reason for that. A high-rise takes up less land and allows for more units. A boutique mid-rise condo can actually take around the same time to build as a high-rise because the floors are often irregular and the building itself is frequently much wider, which makes for a more complex construction process.
Overall, CUR’s top priorities include increasing supply of ground-related and mid-density housing in the GTA, increasing supply of affordable housing, decreasing the amount of direct and indirect government imposed costs added to the price of housing, and to support competition in the new housing and land development industry.
This is just a taste of what CUR has suggested. Make sure you take a look at their full report!