Housing policy changes afford expanded lowrise home options

By Mike Collins-Williams
March 24, 2023

When choosing to invest in a new home, buyers usually think about both their short and long-term needs. With the recent provincial changes, new Ontario lowrise homeowners have the ability to adapt their homes to current and future family situations and increase their passive income.

For example, a young couple can now add a basement or attic apartment rental to help with mortgage costs, or an elderly couple looking to downsize could divide their home into two units, allowing them to stay in their community as they age. The new Ontario-wide regulations present new-home buyers with numerous opportunities to increase their income and adjust their homes to adapt to changing circumstances.

Lowrise home options

In fact, any detached, semi-detached or townhome property can add up to two apartment units (equaling a total of three units) on a single piece of urban residential land. There are many ways a homeowner can do this. It can be through an attic apartment, a basement apartment, or even a vertical split. Homeowners could build an in-law suite, a guest house, convert a garage to a livable housing unit or even build a new accessory dwelling in the yard of their property. These changes provide lowrise homeowners with more options for their properties than ever before. If a homeowner needs to add an apartment to supplement their mortgage, they are now able to do so, whereas before this was often only a possibility through extensive compromises with the local government.

These new housing options also help build better communities where families can live in the same neighbourhoods longer and contribute to healthy densification of our communities. More populated neighbourhoods often translate to more services, infrastructure, community centres and an enhanced local commercial district that supports the survival and growth of local businesses. These province-wide changes give young people the chance to afford to live in the neighbourhoods they grew up in, and at the same time allow seniors to age in place.

Regulatory changes

These regulatory changes have a major impact on how we plan for our family’s future and our longer-term housing needs. Owning a home now gives us the opportunity to modify our residential unit according to our needs, at the same time increasing our income and the value of our property. Having these adaptable options in place helps to ensure our new homes can meet our needs today and tomorrow.

About Mike Collins-Williams

Mike Collins-Williams, RPP, MCIP, is CEO West End Home Builders’ Association. westendhba.ca.

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