February 22, 2017
The best way to support home ownership and improve affordability for first-time buyers and young families is to put more homes on the market, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) told the government recently. Representatives of OREA recommended that the province set up a task force on affordable home ownership to determine how the government can best improve housing supply and consumer choice.
OREA representatives spoke to the government’s standing committee on finance and economic affairs in late January, as part of a pre-budget consultation to the government at Queen’s Park. The OREA delegates said that the best way to ensure that people have an opportunity to achieve the Canadian dream of home ownership is by putting more homes on the market.
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“We are facing a critical housing supply shortage that is putting home ownership out of reach for Ontario’s first-time buyers and young families,” said Valerie Miles, chair of OREA’s government relations committee. “In some markets, housing inventory is at all-time lows and prices are at record highs. Increasing the housing stock is necessary to give buyers more options at affordable levels. We need industry leaders to come together on this issue before the supply problem gets any worse.”
The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) recently reported that the supply of housing has plummeted over the past decade. The lack of supply is a main driving factor for increasing prices of new single-family detached houses and high-rise condominiums in the GTA.
In its pre-budget consultation, OREA recommended several ways to increase housing stock. They include: reducing the red-tape around getting building permits approved; dedicated funding to help service land designated for development to encourage builders to start projects sooner; and moving away from the proposed ‘one-size-fits-all’ intensification targets under the provincial growth plan to allow developers to build those “missing middle” types of housing such as townhomes, duplexes and stacked townhomes.
“The government is asking Ontarians for ways to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives – a strong real estate market checks off all three boxes,” said Tim Hudak, OREA CEO. “Every home transaction generates $55,000 in economic spin-offs which creates jobs and supports local business, while home ownership offers endless social benefits for families and communities. If the goal of the pre-budget consultation is to build up Ontario’s future, then finding ways to make home ownership affordable is a great place to start.”
In January, the Ontario government increased the provincial land transfer tax rebate for first-time home buyers to $4,000, double the previous amount of $2,000, to help make home ownership more affordable for that group of buyers.
“The government deserves credit for taking positive steps to address affordability,” said Hudak. “We need more efforts like this to keep the dream of home ownership alive in Ontario. We look forward to continuing to work with policy makers on improving affordability even further.”
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