Housing supply

Ontario NDP and Conservatives promise to boost housing supply through various measures

TORONTO — Ontario’s New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives are both promising to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years as housing affordability emerges as a top election issue in a province grappling with a shortage of supply and a spike in prices.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath touted her housing plan, saying it would spur construction of a combination of starter homes, purpose-built rentals and affordable housing.

“It’s what people tell me they want to see,” she says. “You can’t really build a life without being on your own and having a roof over your head to belong to.”

First released in November 2020, the NDP’s housing plan has since been updated to include home equity loans to help first-time buyers put down a down payment. A New Democrat government would offer loans to first-time household buyers earning up to $200,000 a year at up to 10% of the purchase price.

Refunds would not be required until the owner moved out and he would have the option to buy back the government share at any time.

The Progressive Conservative housing plan largely focuses on supply, although critics say it so far lacks the bold steps needed to build the necessary number of homes.

Paul Anglin, professor of real estate at the University of Guelph, said he would prefer the offer to be addressed.

“If you throw money at first-time home buyers, it will shift the demand curve, which will increase the price paid by second-home buyers,” he said.

“That’s the fundamental paradox if you’re trying to have demand-side policies. This is partly why I think the focus is now on the supply side, to overcome this paradox.

The goal of 1.5 million households is “a very good headline,” Anglin said, but he’s unsure how it will be achieved.

The Progressive Conservatives, seeking re-election, set up a task force on housing affordability last year and the group’s report suggested that goal.

Home prices in Ontario have nearly tripled in the past 10 years, far outpacing income growth, the report says, but the province is at 1.2 million homes — both rented and owned — in below the G7 average.

For too long, the province has focused on ways to “cool down” the market, but that won’t fill the housing need, the report said.

“More supply is key, he said.

The Conservatives embraced this goal and pledged to use the report as the basis of their long-term housing strategy.

But legislation earlier this year did not include key recommendations from the supply task force, such as ending exclusionary zoning, to get more housing types built outside of single-family homes. , which the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing blamed on lack of municipal cooperation. -operation.

It contained measures to speed up processes such as greenlighting subdivisions, site plans that address things like driveways and parking, and modular multi-unit residential buildings.

The Progressive Conservatives said they would launch new consultations on increasing the number of “missing middle” housing, including supports for multi-generational housing, access to funding for non-profit developers and housing needs. housing in rural and northern communities.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has touted the 100,000 housing starts recorded last year, tying the progress to his campaign theme, construction.

“We’re going to hit our targets of 150,000 homes a year and how we’re going to do that, we’re working collaboratively,” he said.

“The province gives the tools to the municipalities. #1 for standardizing the process across the province, for faster permitting, less red tape and regulation, vs. NDP and Liberals. They don’t believe in development, they just don’t believe in it.

Both the NDP and the Liberals have criticized the Progressive Conservative housing plan for not containing enough to help tenants.

New Democrats pledge to restore “real” rent control – the Conservatives scrapped rent controls on new housing – as well as to crack down on landlords who evict tenants citing the need for renovations and to restore the right to in-person hearings before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

This is an area where governments could do more to help people, rather than just focusing on providing homes for homeowners, Anglin said.

“I suggest that someone who is even considering buying – they pay $1 million or $2 million for a house – is in a very different position than someone who is struggling to pay $1,000 per month, or even finding accommodation that costs $1,000 per month rented,” he said.

The Liberals have yet to release their housing plan, but Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca has criticized the Conservative plan for its lack of help for renters and first-time home buyers.

© 2022 The Canadian Press