Will One Rule Change Solve the Housing Crisis in Toronto?

Dated: November 11 2021

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People across Toronto seem to think they have the solution to the housing crisis and price spikes attacking the Toronto housing market. A particular group of builders proposes a different approach to creating new housing that won't require any new construction.

Politicians have started efforts to dissuade foreign investors from buying into the real estate market, promised task forces to study the crisis, and even turned to forcing developers to build affordable housing.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) argues that allowing a rule change for townhomes or a triplex to be converted into multi-unit properties - which happens to be illegal in the city currently - could create an influx of housing options in Toronto.

The organization wants the Province to allow denser development near transit stations. Changing this regulation would force the Province to face off against the wealthy tax bases of these areas.

OREA CEO Tim Hudak, in a September report, stated, "In too many Ontario cities, it defies common sense that you can take a bungalow and turn it into a monster four-story home for one wealthy family, but you cannot build affordable townhomes for multiple families without red tape, runaround, and exorbitant costs. Exclusionary zoning policies are at the heart of Ontario's housing affordability crisis in high-growth areas, and it's time the Province steps in to modernize these archaic laws."

Toronto may have plenty of skyscrapers but has a relatively low population density. Cities like Paris smash the population density levels currently seen in Toronto. Toronto is much more comparable to the city of Chicago when it comes to population density.

Hudak's September report also shared, "You cannot grow south into Lake Ontario or north into the Greenbelt, so we need to use the space in between to create more homes and give more choice to Ontarians. Archaic rules and regulations are holding up new developments and exacerbating the problem – keeping the Canadian dream of homeownership out of reach for millennials and young families.”

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