As housing prices soar across the country and here in Windsor-Essex, the province hopes funding to streamline building permits will help build more homes, faster.
“Ontario is experiencing a housing crisis and it’s no secret,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday at the launch of a housing summit to gather ideas for solve the housing crisis and also help municipalities deal with the supply shortage.
The average price of a single-family home in Windsor-Essex is now $571,000, a mark that has doubled since 2020.
The province announced $45 million for municipalities to streamline development approvals at the local level in an effort to increase housing supply.
“New housing starts are stalled, bottlenecked and smothered in red tape, further driving up home prices,” said Steven Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Increasing housing supply to meet this demand means building more homes faster.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens attended the summit along with dozens of other major city mayors across Ontario.
Dilkens confirmed that the city will apply for this funding to review its own internal processes in development and planning departments.
“It’s really about cutting out the red tape and trying to help developers see the potential, get out of their way and let them build,” Dilkens said.
Mayor Dilkens says local governments across the region are handing out a record number of building permits to cope with the supply shortage, but admits prices are spiraling out of control and developers are yet to build the mix of homes needed to meet all needs.
“The supply that comes online is still in a price range that is unaffordable for most average workers,” he said.
Top brass at the Ontario Real Estate Association agree supply needs to increase dramatically to reign in housing affordability.
A new poll released today by Abacus Data shows Ontarians believe high house prices and the rising cost of living are the main issues facing the province.
Dilkens said the summit brought out many other suggestions, such as provincial assistance to develop brownfield sites deemed by developers to be too expensive to remediate.
Dilkens said the mayors also discussed the need to improve the speed at which land court hearings proceed, noting that it is a barrier to shovels being put in the ground.
He said part of the discussion was also about ways to deal with soaring rental prices.
“They’re all aware of this, they’re all aware of this issue,” Dilkens said.
These and other issues will be discussed with the federal government and with rural mayors in the coming days, so the parties can work together to forge a long-term plan.
“We need housing of all types, we need middle missing, we need this purpose-built rental,” Clark said. “We need this mix of homes that reflects the needs of the community.”