TVO.org has obtained a draft of 58 much-anticipated, sorely needed suggestions from the newly formed Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force, aimed at increasing housing supply and improving affordability in the Ontario real estate market.

Slated for official release on Monday, January 31, the report is said to include some “radical” recommendations that would make it easier to build new homes in Ontario’s big cities.

Improving Ontario Real Estate Market Conditions

Among the recos rumoured to be coming from the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force are:

  • population of 100,000+, to permit any type of residential housing up to four storeys and four units on a single residential lot speeding up development approval processes
  • calls for all municipalities—and building codes—to make it easier for property owners to add secondary suites, garden homes and laneway housesyincrease the height, size and density along main streets and transit corridors to allow for development of vertical housing
  • waive development charges for infill projects
  • allow vacant commercial property owners to convert their units for residential use

RE/MAX Canada Executives: Only solution is more housing supply

We’ll have to wait for Monday’s official report, but recommendations like these have been a long time coming, in the face of a mounting housing shortage and affordability crisis across the Ontario housing market and the broader Canadian real estate market.

“We have a critical housing supply issue that’s crept its way into almost every community across the country. It needs to be addressed, or it will continue to worsen,” says Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada. “With the amount of developable land in Ontario dwindling, it’s high time the province explores options, such as increasing building height and density in certain neighbourhoods, making it easier for property owners to add secondary suites, converting vacant commercial units for residential use, and waiving infill development charges. We encourage collaboration across all levels of government, to put an end to the inventory shortage that is at the crux of our housing affordability crisis.”

Canadian real estate has been under tremendous pressure as a result of unprecedented levels of activity, record-high average home prices, and overwhelming demand, which is only expected to intensify as immigration ramps up and the population grows.

RE/MAX Canada Executives have been vocal about the need for a national housing strategy that engages all levels of government, as the only solution to the housing affordability crisis. Past recommendations include:

  • Add more housing supply with a National Housing Strategy that is a coordinated effort across federal, provincial and municipal governments.
  • Do away with band-aid “solutions” such as taxes and policies, like the home equity tax proposed in the Housing Wealth and Generational Inequity report by Generation Squeeze and backed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The focus instead should be on incentivizing more development of affordable, family-sized housing and allow for more detached housing beyond our existing urban borders.
  • Reduce red tape and easing the application and approval process for new residential development.
  • Make every home-purchase conditional on financing, reducing instances of buyer’s remorse and helping to ensure Canadians can afford what they are buying.
  • Develop a federal industry “watchdog” to review transactions where homes are sold well over asking price to ensure fair listing prices, and prevent listings well below market value intended to incite bidding wars.

From an industry perspective, it appears that the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force could be on the right track. Stay tuned for the official report on Monday!