Housing supply

Housing supply and affordability is a crucial election issue

GTA voters will head to the polls again in October to elect mayors and councilors for area municipalities.

It is the level of government that has the most direct impact on the supply, location and choice of housing, and the choices voters make on Monday, October 24 will have a significant impact on the availability and future housing affordability in the GTA. In a region experiencing a generational housing crisis, election candidates must not be distracted by short-term economic conditions and must champion bold and clear ideas on how to address the housing challenge.

Headlines inform us that housing demand is slowing in the GTA amid economic uncertainty. The fact is that the region’s fundamental housing supply challenges remain unresolved and are even exacerbated as near-term economic conditions and inflationary pressures cool demand but at the same time increase the costs of constructing new housing. .

With the region’s population continuing to grow and demand only temporarily dampened, the pause in the housing market will eventually reset as the market adjusts to higher interest rates or as rates stabilize.

The situation is similar to what happened after the market downturn in 2017 following the introduction of the mortgage stress test. As demand returns, the lack of housing supply will reassert itself, new supply will be more expensive due to inflationary pressures of the past year and a half, and affordability issues will persist.

In June, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that 1.85 million additional housing units would be needed in Ontario by 2030 to restore a target affordability rate of 37 per cent of average income. This represents an increase of approximately 150% in housing starts in Ontario in 2021, every year for eight years.

Our challenge is clear: we must find ways to build many more homes, faster and more efficiently than we are doing now. Municipal candidates must rise to this challenge and engage the electorate in a conversation about how we can meet it collectively. They must also support ambitious ideas to get more housing built, like the 55 recommendations in the report of Ontario’s Housing Affordability Task Force.

Ahead of the municipal elections, BILD will present ideas to address the current housing supply and affordability crisis in the GTA. We hope that candidates and voters recognize that they have the opportunity to have a potentially historic impact on the supply and affordability of housing – and, ultimately, the competitiveness and livability – of our region.

David Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and a Star contributor. Follow him on Twitter: @bildgta