The release of new real estate market data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (“CREA”) today shows why Ontario policy makers should stay the course on taking bold action to save the Canadian dream of home ownership by increasing housing supply.
While prices are down nationally, in Ontario they are up almost 7% year-over-year with the average price of a home coming in at $932,000 in 2022, according to CREA’s residential sales data. Thanks to increasing interest rates and a lack of homes on the market, affordability of home ownership for young families is at historic lows. According to the Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”), middle-class families now have to dedicate 85% of their after-tax income to carrying the costs of a single-detached bungalow in the Greater Toronto Area. To make matters worse, today’s data revealed that new listings are shrinking meaning that fewer homes will be on the market heading into 2023 for buyers to see.
Ontario must continue to be bold in the coming months to get more housing supply built. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. Policymakers should not make the mistake that a slower housing market means that housing affordability issues are being solved. The case is quite the opposite - the housing affordability crisis has deepened, and we need to double down on getting more homes built, not ease off.
The Province should, for example, act to end exclusionary zoning in high-traffic urban areas. This change would, open the door to tens of thousands of new homes in existing communities. Ending exclusionary zoning also has cross-party support and is proven to be a very effective policy for boosting housing supply in other jurisdictions. The province should also consider further action to expedite the sale of underutilized provincial property and buildings for homes that average Canadians can afford and introducing stronger rules to intensify around transit lines and hubs.
- Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association