We can all agree that Ontario, and Canada, needs more homes. The supply shortage is at the root of an affordability crisis that threatens to derail one of our country’s key economic drivers and the futures of many Canadians who, even if they can afford an average-priced home, are unlikely to find one for sale.

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There are other factors compounding our housing crisis: homeowners’ hesitancy to list for fear of getting locked out of the market and a growing population that will put further pressure on an already fragile ecosystem. (You can only imagine the impact that a new home equity tax or other such “cooling” measures might have.)

With the Ontario housing market under immense pressure, the provincial government took the right first step of establishing a Housing Affordability Task Force late last year, with a goal of finding realistic solutions to increase supply. The nine-member panel of housing experts and industry insiders has been head-down for the last two months, consulting and drafting recommendations. Last week, the group made 55 of them, for what it calls an “achievable” goal: to build 1.5 million new homes in Ontario over the next 10 years.

But there’s another very real risk threatening progress: NIMBYs.

I’ve said it before and I’m not alone in my stance: the only solution to our housing crisis is to build more homes. But that message is being drowned out by cries of “not in my back yard,” from homeowners who want to preserve the character and liveability of their communities, and from city mayors and councillors, whose political futures hang in the balance. In its report, the Task Force referenced a new acronym to reflect these sentiments: BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).

Quite simply, if nothing changes, nothing changes. Let that sink in for a minute: the lack of listings, the rising prices and ever-declining options for home ownership.

Re/Max Canada’s research  shows that Canadians value liveability when choosing a place to live and buy a home, and for the majority, the chief criteria for liveability is affordability. Liveability is impossible to achieve if communities are inaccessible and unsustainable due to prohibitive price growth and a shortage of listings, which is the current situation from coast to coast.

I commend proposals that aim to increase the supply of homes in urban neighbourhoods, which continue to attract the bulk of our population. In order to house them, we need more high-density, infill residential development. We need more laneway housing, secondary and garden suites and multi-family dwellings. We need less red tape and less politicization of residential development, and less NIMBYs and BANANAs that threaten the freedom and future of home ownership for all.

To balance pressure from NIMBYs with pleas from hopeful homebuyers, we need to recognize that “densification” can be a good thing. It can have positive impacts on our mental and physical health, not to mention the environmental benefits of having more walkable neighbourhoods. We just need to be open to new ideas for densification and expansion of residential development, both within our urban centres and in our suburban and rural communities.

Densification can’t happen hastily. It must be a thoughtful, co-ordinated effort across all levels of government, that is considerate of the character of our communities, their existing residents and those who hope to call them “home.” If done right, densification can be a beautiful thing, refreshing and revitalizing aging neighbourhoods, both in their esthetic and in the fabric of their make-up.

High-density infill that meets everyone’s needs must be thoughtful and creative, in keeping with the scope of the current community while accommodating future growth. The Province of Ontario’s consultation with housing experts and the real estate industry is a great thought-starter, and collaboration with municipal and federal governments can help make that 1.5-million-home milestone a reality.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I expect my comment may come across as naive but as there has been so much interest in tiny homes over the last several years, why are municipalities, developers and builders not getting on that?
    I don’t see why you can take a small new building building development and divy the land into significantly smaller lots to build these tiny homes for resale for 1st time buyers. On the surface it would appear to me that it would solve a few problems… the lack of new home inventory and the price point tthatbuyers are dealing with? Maybe I am just looking at this in a far too simplistic manner?

  2. I disagree. The only solution to our housing crisis is NOT to build more homes. As we currently don’t have enough homes for everyone, one of the solutions is to limit or reduce immigration. Unfortunately, Trudeau is pleased to bring in more people while we can’t accommodate all those already on the ground.

    Of course, from a business point of view for the president of a national brokerage, it’s a good idea. More houses we build, more houses will eventually become available for resale. Totally irresponsible.

    • I agree…or spread out the immigration to underveloped areas of Canada. Let it be a condition of immigration.

      I cannot understand why we try to stuff people in tight urban centers which cannot keep up with the continuing need of maintence and expanding transportation.

      There is nothing wrong with people having to drive until they qualify. If the costs of materials to build homes have gone up and all those that contribute to skyrocketing expenses cannot find a way to reduce those costs then…it is what it is. Why over develope areas to the point of unhealthy living? ….and yes not in my back yard…I have paid a hefty price for the privilege of space and being able to see the sun.

  3. An article in BNN Bloomberg stated the nearly 20% of homebuyers are Investors.
    If everyone really cares about housing affordability and availability, we need to tackle Investor problem.
    I suspect the more you build, the more Investors will buy.
    Until we get honest about this situation, we will not see real change.

    • I agree with you Rita…bigger issue that no me wants to address… Maybe “investors” should be more part of the building new properties for rent, rather than buying up current houses… It’s not that easy of course…but 20% being investors is a chunk of the issue…

  4. I agree.more people =more infrastructure=more debt.Let interest go up a point or two and dial down immigration to a maintenance level and nature will take its course.Expansion isn’t always a solution..

  5. There are rumblings amongst homeowners about withholding property taxes if politicians over-ride their property rights to force intensification. The question then becomes “ how do we fund our municipalities??” Never mind “how do we get elected?”
    Don’t poke the bear!

  6. If all the talk about 1.5 million “new” homes is to be accomplished with “infill” secondary suites and garden (sheds) “suites” and turning what are now single family into Multi-family dwellings; I totally disagree with the proposal. The government is not being clear/transparent with this proposed path of ruining the rights of home owners enjoyment of what and where they purchased.
    If I wanted to look at a rented out shed in my neighbour’s yard – I would probably live in a third world country.
    I intend to counter this proposal any way I can …. Ontario property owners need to wake up and become involved in this … not a committee of a few “experts”.

  7. Carolyne unfortunately the system is what needs changing – A developer once acquiring land has years and years and i am not exaggerating !!! to try to bring subdivisions to fruition to sell affordable lots. Way too much red tape and the politicians to be strong and support this change is key as well. So even though there is talk of change of all this change it is going to take a long time. We have to start somewhere but ideas are one thing and actual process change another. Prices of lots and land could be much more affordable if the red tape was reduced. It is possible but we shall see if its all just talk and government studies that never end in change. All for show. Only time will tell!

  8. NIMBYers have every right to protest their neighbourhoods being turned inside-out in favour of high density cramming of humanity down their throats by the likes of Turdeau-the-dictator and his cadre’ of Marxist group-thinking know-it-alls who wield far too much power these days. (In a democracy we get the government we deserve) Where do you think these upper-class snobs live…in high density enclaves? I doubt it. Only the pure-of-heart communists without any real political power live by their own creed. The others, the do-as-I-say, not do-as-I do faux limousine-Liberal commies who troll the population of gimme-everything-free-freeloaders with their false-flag-promotions-of-themselves-for-votes’ tactics choose to live wherever they want in order to stay away from the riff-raff, everyday citizens. They’re top-down-control-artist-elitists, just like King Justine Turdeau and his ilk.

    Do you live in a high density ghetto, Chris? Have you not noticed how high density low- income-provided-housing enclaves tend to turn into so-called ghettos over time? You are a Realtor, supposedly a free market operator. Where does government-control over ‘your’ life come into the picture? NIMBYers ‘pay’ for the privilege of enjoying at least some privacy and general surroundings in their chosen neighbourhoods. Do you want big government to be able to take that away after the fact?

    Count me in as being a rabid NIMBY selfish bastard, if that’s what you think of people with my mindset. We’re not a communist state…yet, but we’re being pushed in that direction by the likes of our leftist politicians, who for the life of me, keep on getting elected to tell us what to think, say and do. We are living the results of sixty years of a Marxist dominated education system. Independent-minded critical-free-thought has all but been ironed out of the population’s consciousness. We’ve become a bunch of ignorant willing followers of the new faith known as “Government Knows Best” Marxists. Hail to EQUITY, and confuse that with EQUALITY. Then screw FREEDOM…FREEDOM of CHOICE. Choosing to pay for where one wants to live without government changing things up mid-stream/after-the-fact is the last bastion of the free exercise of our diminishing free enterprise economic system.

    We don’t have a housing market problem. Canada is one of the best countries to live in over the entire planet, all the while experiencing a so-called housing shortage…or not. Who says everyone must have a single-family residence on an acre of prime real estate right from the get-go? That’s bull shit! That’s something to be aspired to, to be worked for over time! I started out in a basement apartment. Over time I worked hard, saved, bought and sold, moved up, and did well….without any government assistance-for-votes. What we do have is a political indoctrination problem. Rewarding those who don’t produce equally with those who do—for votes—is flat-out wrong. That’s pure Communism. Communism stifles human nature. Human nature cannot be changed via government legislation. Only the elites, the rulers, benefit from Communistic rule. Heil Turdeau!

    Not on your life.

    The BANANA thing is an extreme view of a non-problem. Only by achieving so-called “perfection” can there be no problems. Ain’t never gonna happen, because there’s no such thing as “perfection”. It’s simply a human construct, and humans are imperfect, as is everything else.

    The U.S.S.R. had government suppled housing for all. Were Russian citizens of that era happy? Were they mostly alcoholics, stoning out on their government produced vodka, wallowing in ghettos of equity at the bottom of the economic ladder with no hope of improving their lives? Damn right. That’s what leftist government control gets you.

    You should know better, Chris.

    • Brian your post reminds me of the privacy commissioner who made loud noises when on behalf of the government, so as to protect FSBO and discount brokerages everywhere, she sued TRREB and in the midst of the long drawn out affair listed her upscale house on TRREB’s system via one of those full service – no fsbo or discount here- brokerages.

      • Good point. Ford’s caught Turdeauitis, it seems.

        Jim the-editor-guy deposited my initial response in his special drawer of flammable material. If the dictator had seen it, he might have frozen REM’s bank account.

        I do my best to keep things on the up-and-up herein, but sometimes, when I’ve just seen our former part-time-substitute-teacher-turned- fearless-man-child “leader?” with the Karen weirdo-hairdo acting tough on the tube, I can’t help myself, and the disdain for His Highness, mined from the deepest recesses of my feeble brain, comes barging through.

        Gotta give Jim a laugh once in a while. Turdeau’s undeserved intellectually-arrogant personality disorder definitely provides fodder for that.

        The foregoing is not intended to be taken as fact, but is strictly an opinion based on hours upon hours witnessing Turdeau’s self-satisfied incompetence. May his used full-of-it toilet paper be recycled as his new Covid face mask.

  9. Trudeau ambitious plans for next three years… to bring in 1.3 million newcomers to support pandemic growth. See today’s Bloomberg News.

    ===

    The infrastructure isn’t in place to support building more houses currently: garbage disposal, incoming and outgoing water, road use and repair and highways, just the basics, not to mention schools, teachers, hospitals and related staff.

    Where will these newest to be immigrants live? In govt paid for hotels like now?

    Isn’t the system currently all backwards and inside out?

    Carolyne L

    Sent from my iPhone

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