More housing policies likely to follow

By Wayne Karl
January 30, 2023

Barely one day had passed (at time of writing) since the Ontario government’s More Homes Built Faster Actwas approved, and the criticism began to mount. Designed to tackle the housing supply crisis and get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years, the bill, not surprisingly, faced strong opposition.

More Homes Built Faster is intended to remove unnecessary costs and cut through red tape and other bottlenecks that stand in the way of new homes being built. Seems like a pretty worthwhile goal, except to those who are fortunate enough to already own a home, and fear development in their area or an increase in property taxes. Such NIMBYism, however, doesn’t do much for actually resolving the housing supply and affordability issues which affect us all – renters, homeowners and especially prospective homebuyers.

Unprecedented housing crisis

“We are in the middle of an unprecedented housing crisis, and it is critical that we take immediate action to speed up construction of new homes and remove obstacles to residential development,” says Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario. “Removing development charges for affordable and non-profit housing, one of the items in the legislation, is the right thing to do as it will spur new residential construction. These hefty fees are out of control and can result in a project being shelved. Municipalities have become dependent on them, and an alternative must be found.”

As the days and weeks roll by and critics of the Act perhaps become more vocal, it’s important to look beyond political rhetoric and think big picture, long term. Controversial though it may be, Ontario needs such action, and it’s an important start.

Government policies and investments

In addition, we might as well get used to more government involvement and policies on housing, not just in Ontario but across the country.

“To overcome these affordability challenges, we need a range of government policies and investments stemming from several sources, notably the private and public sectors,” says a new report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Deputy Chief Economist Aled ab Iorwerth. “The scale of the challenge is so large that the private sector must be involved – governments cannot do this on their own.”

The housing system is interconnected, he says, so fixing Canada’s affordability challenge requires a suite of policies to affect the entire system.

A suite of policies, and the open minds to facilitate them.

About Wayne Karl

Wayne Karl is an award-winning writer and editor with experience in real estate and business. Wayne explores the basics – such as economic fundamentals – you need to examine when buying property.

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