New polling data released by the Ontario Real Estate Association shows Ontarians feel housing affordability in the province is getting worse and the future is not looking better for homeownership without greater government action.

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The report found that 46 per cent of prospective home buyers under the age of 45 have considered or are considering moving out of the province to afford a home, while 33 per cent under the age of 29 are definitely (11 per cent) or very likely (22 per cent) to buy outside of Ontario.

More than half of these aspiring buyers (56 per cent) are pessimistic about the possibility of buying a home in the community they want to live in, says OREA. Not addressing the housing supply shortage could have a detrimental effect on Ontario’s competitiveness and ability to retain talent, it says.

“The lack of housing supply is leading many to look outside the province for their first homes and that will make it difficult to retain and attract talent in Ontario in the near future,” says OREA CEO Tim Hudak in a news release. “The Government of Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Act is an excellent first step but if we want to reverse this brain drain, municipalities also need to deliver by opening up more housing opportunities.”

There is widespread support for government actions to address housing affordability, with Ontarians saying that provincial political parties and local politicians would both benefit from including addressing housing affordability in their election platforms. A majority of Ontarians feel that housing affordability should be a very high or a high priority for the Government of Ontario, says OREA.

The majority (68 per cent) agree that there are things the Ontario government could do to make the housing market more affordable. The ideas they support include:

  • Stopping money laundering in the Ontario real estate market with a publicly searchable registry of who owns the properties (91 per cent)
  • Introducing tax credits and incentives for homeowners to make improvements in their homes or improve energy efficiency (90 per cent)
  • Making it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the market by increasing first-time home buyer tax rebates (89 per cent)
  • Redeveloping surplus commercial properties into housing (87 per cent)

The Housing Affordability in Ontario: Perceptions, Impacts, And Solutions poll was conducted by Abacus Data for OREA. 

“The affordability crisis continues to crush the dream of home ownership for many Ontarians and this has been intensified by the economic impact of the pandemic,” says Hudak. “Governments need to act if we want to create future generations of homeowners and that starts with pro-growth policies that could bring affordability closer to first-time home buyers and address the supply shortage.”

Consistent with past OREA research, the poll also shows Ontarians agree that the housing sector can be the engine for Ontario’s economic recovery. Almost half of Ontarians believe that residential construction will be key to economic growth and job creation when the pandemic is over.

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