It’s no news to REALTORS® that Ontario is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis. Housing supply is at historic lows, prices continue to increase dramatically year after year and the salaries of Ontario’s families are not keeping pace. The dream of home ownership has never been harder to achieve, and Ontarians are looking to their political leaders to make that dream a reality.
Ontario REALTORS® have a plan to bring affordability home through innovative policies that will increase new housing supply and mitigate some of the current challenges for Ontarians looking to enter the market.
Today’s release of the Ford government’s Fall Economic Statement, Build Ontario, builds on the ideas that OREA brought forward as part of our Bring Affordability Home campaign. OREA encouraged the government to build an accessible and affordable housing market through streamlining approvals processes, incentivizing development, and prioritizing other pro-homeownership policies that will shape the future of housing in our Province.
In 2020 alone, more homes started construction (73,800) than in any other year over the past decade. Ontario has equally prioritized renters - with rental housing starts in 2020 being the highest since 1992. This increase in housing starts is the outcome of Minister Steve Clark’s initiatives, specifically the More Homes, More Choice Act, which incorporated 8 out of 10 OREA proposals to increase housing supply in the province.
That is why we are pleased to see the Ford government’s commitment to create a Housing Affordability Task Force, which will study and determine further actions to create more housing and help bring affordability closer to Ontario families. We look forward to an opportunity to support the work of the task force in any way possible with the expertise of Ontario REALTORS® and research.
We welcome the Province’s proposal to enhance the Brownfields Financial Tax Incentive Program to encourage the redevelopment of underused lands and support new housing starts by providing reductions on municipal and education property taxes on brownfield sites that require rehabilitation. OREA pushed for this and we got it – this program is ideal for the development of more affordable homes, local businesses, and is good environmental policy.
OREA also supports the Province’s commitment to extend the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit to 2022, providing an estimated $35-million in additional support, which will help keep seniors safe, create jobs, and generate economic activity. Both of these proposals were recommendations made to the Province as part of OREA’s Rebuilding Ontario: A framework for recovery.
The Ford government is the most pro-homeownership government that Ontario has seen in a generation. Building off of the successful More Homes, More Choice legislation, OREA recommends that the Government of Ontario consider our plan to Bring Affordability Home and bring forward a new housing supply-related bill that focuses on the following areas:
- Ending exclusionary single-family zoning;
- Lowering costs for first-time home buyers by doubling the land transfer tax rebate;
- Making surplus government land and underused commercial properties available for development;
- Permitting innovative housing solutions for affordable ownership;
- Getting dirty money out of real estate by creating an Ontario-made public beneficial ownership registry.
Ontario’s 85,000 REALTORS® would like to thank the Ford government, Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, and Minister Steve Clark for their leadership in bringing these proposals forward and we look forward to working together to make the dream of home ownership a reality for more Ontario families.
- Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association