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Zoning Reform Ideas

While there certainly are some unreasonable comments, I found a great number to be quite reasonable.

This:

View attachment 379915

That's actually a fairly progressive take with a modest sprinkle of understandable self-interest.

***

Additionally there are are people noting:

1) This is more a demand problem than a supply one. That is absolutely non-negotiably true. I'm progressive on zoning and intensification and not opposed to population growth,
but its certainly true that if we slowed population growth to the level of 10 years ago, housing prices and rents would fall. Toronto does have record/near-record levels of housing starts and is up there
among the highest in North America. One cannot reasonably ignore the demand portion of the equation.

2) Investors, both foreign and domestic are buying up a material chunk of the new housing, and while many are renting out, many are not. MetroMan, a former regular poster here noted that
at his previous condo he was one of a handful of occupied units in his condo building (at least on his floor), the majority were vacant. This varies from one development to the next, but is certainly a factor.

3) That missing middle housing, and relaxed zoning while fine things, will not create housing affordable to low-income earners. A single individual on Social Assistance gets $733 per month, that includes housing and all other
expenses. No amount of building will get rents down to under $300 per month. Even for those working full-time at minimum wage, that's about 30k per year, gross.
By the time taxes, CPP and EI are deducted, you get a clear, pre-tax return pay of about $23,000 or just under $2,000 per month.
That would require rents in the range of $700 per month for someone to survive.

All of which means, income growth for the employed is critical, with minimum wage needing to be closer to $22 per hour than $15; those on Social Assistance also need greater financial support, but would require either
rent-supplements or purpose-built affordable housing to make ends meet.

****

On balance I thought there were alot of good comments
Let me comment on your points one by one.
  1. You have not proven that this is more of a demand issue than a supply issue. It's also unclear that simply reducing population growth would cause house prices to fall. To address your specific assertions: Canada's house price to income ratio really started to take off in the early 2000s, well before the increase in immigration targets in 2015. Now, house prices may have accelerated over the last five years, but we have at least a few confounding factors: increased immigration, increased immigration of people with higher incomes (in fact, median immigrant income has doubled since 2010), rock-bottom interest rates, and the COVID pandemic. There's no conclusive proof that one factor alone is responsible for most of the cost increase. You also bring up the high number of housing starts. That is misleading. Housing starts don't provide a place for people to live. - only housing completions do, and on that metric, while that number has increased in Ontario, it hasn't increased dramatically above historic norms. It's also useful to note that where we've seen the most price appreciation is in ground-related (in Ontario, primarily single-detached) housing, and we aren't completing a ton more than historic norms there.
  2. Yes, investor-purchases account for approximately 20% of housing purchases in Canada. We can't say much more than that, however. No one has figured out an accurate way to gauge vacancy, and all studies I've seen have been anecdotal. That said, I don't think we need to get accurate data before deciding to tackle vacancy. I'm very supportive of any method to get people into homes.
  3. I think there are very few people who are ardently supply-and-market-driven-only. While supply can help over the long-run through filtering (it's unlikely that those low-rent apartments we see today started as low-rent apartments) to help people today, we need government-driven housing development/supports and that started to peter out in the 70s, 80s and finally, the 90s.
 
Let me comment on your points one by one.
  1. You have not proven that this is more of a demand issue than a supply issue.

I'm not sure how one 'proves' this; except to say, that if you brought demand down to historic norms, in light of current supply, I find it difficult to imagine sustaining current prices.
There is no question there are other contributing factors stimulating demand as opposed to immigration alone; but based on a historically normative curve, I don't see supply as the key issue.
It is is a key issue if we intend to sustain current trends on population growth though, no question there.

  1. It's also unclear that simply reducing population growth would cause house prices to fall. To address your specific assertions: Canada's house price to income ratio really started to take off in the early 2000s, well before the increase in immigration targets in 2015.

Immigration targets do not include foreign students, or TFWs.

  1. It's also useful to note that where we've seen the most price appreciation is in ground-related (in Ontario, primarily single-detached) housing, and we aren't completing a ton more than historic norms there.

Are you sure? Maybe check the per ft2 numbers? I have a funny feeling that SFH sizes have not shrunk nearly as much as multi-family units in size. (but in fairness, I haven't checked that yet)

  1. Yes, investor-purchases account for approximately 20% of housing purchases in Canada. We can't say much more than that, however. No one has figured out an accurate way to gauge vacancy, and all studies I've seen have been anecdotal. That said, I don't think we need to get accurate data before deciding to tackle vacancy. I'm very supportive of any method to get people into homes.

Good, I concur

  1. I think there are very few people who are ardently supply-and-market-driven-only. While supply can help over the long-run through filtering (it's unlikely that those low-rent apartments we see today started as low-rent apartments) to help people today, we need government-driven housing development/supports and that started to peter out in the 70s, 80s and finally, the 90s.

Yes, but we also need to drive up incomes; that that happens when you constrict labour supply, not bloat it.
You need fewer workers than jobs to drive productivity investment, and wage growth.
We have the opposite problem.
 
Another reason I...question...the notion that immigration alone is the cause of house prices skyrocketing is to look at a country that's fairly close to Canada, and where immigration levels have held steady: the US. Just looking there, you'll see that over the past two years US house prices have increased by double digits annually.

I do think there's a really bad supply/demand imbalance, but I think it's being caused by multiple factors:
  1. Millenials are hitting their peak home-buying years, and...there's not a lot of supply around.
  2. People want ground-related housing, and zoning rules have made it incredibly hard to build more of it.
  3. Both these factors mean that anyone who wants to buy a home to live in will bid more than they would prefer, thus pushing median prices higher.
  4. Supply is being snapped up by investors, many of which can use a house that they currently own to finance a downpayment on a new property, thus crowding out first-time homebuyers. Since investors are optimistic they will overpay for future returns, again pushing median house prices higher.
 
Immigration targets do not include foreign students, or TFWs.

That's correct, but it's unlikely that they are directly pushing up home prices. Unless the reasoning is that investors see them as a pool of renters, and are willing to pay top dollar for a house to carve up and rent out? But if that's the case, why all the empty units that are anecdotally reported? (FWIW, I think it's far more likely that home owners are building out lots of secondary suites, legal or not, and renting it out to these TFWs/foreign students; see Brampton as an example.)

Are you sure? Maybe check the per ft2 numbers? I have a funny feeling that SFH sizes have not shrunk nearly as much as multi-family units in size. (but in fairness, I haven't checked that yet)

I don't know that checking sqft numbers matters, because what the home-buyer (not investor) cares about is the final cost of the unit, since that's what drives your down payment and monthly mortgage costs. That said, in the last quarter of 2021, the gap between detached and condo prices is the largest it's been since 2017.


Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 11.14.12 PM.png


(The way to read this graph is to see that it's the price difference between the average rowhome/semi/detached and the average condo. So, the average detached house is $1M more expensive than the average condo.)

Yes, but we also need to drive up incomes; that that happens when you constrict labour supply, not bloat it.
You need fewer workers than jobs to drive productivity investment, and wage growth.
We have the opposite problem.

We consistently disagree on the primary cause of wage stagnation. I think it's because Canada over-concentrates on low-growth and/or low-productivity industries (government, construction, resource extraction as a few examples) and you believe that it's primarily caused by an over-expansion of the labor market. Maybe there is no primary cause and it's both.
 
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hat's correct, but it's unlikely that they are directly pushing up home prices. Unless the reasoning is that investors see them as a pool of renters, and are willing to pay top dollar for a house to carve up and rent out? But if that's the case, why all the empty units that are anecdotally reported? (FWIW, I think it's far more likely that home owners are building out lots of secondary suites, legal or not, and renting it out to these TFWs/foreign students; see Brampton as an example.)
I think it's pretty well established that apartment vacancy rates are extremely low in Toronto and increasingly across the country; plus 70-90% of new build condos are bought by investors in anticipation of high/growing rental demand as you mentioned.

I'm not sure more supply is the answer for ownership.

Take China: something like 20% of units across their country are empty because they were speculative purchases by investors. It seems like many/most of those units didn't make it onto the rental market. Granted, that wouldn't be the case in Toronto, but it goes to show that even a significant chunk of supply won't necessarily fix the problem. At best, new supply, especially apartments, will become more rentals. The fundamental issue is that housing has become an investment vehicle. Until that changes, speculative demand will grow to whatever level of supply we throw at it. And part of choking off speculative investment bubbles is by tightening credit.
 
Ok, time for me to offer comments on recommendations.

I'm just going to go line by line, in order from the report:

My comments are in Red. I'll do one section per post to keep the length sane.

Appendix A
A-1
Recommendations from the Draft Report of the Ontario
Housing Affordability Task Force (January 20, 2022)

1. Put Ontario’s housing need front and centre

a. Amend the Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement, and Growth Plans to set
"growth in the housing supply" and "intensification within existing built-up areas"
of municipalities as the most important priorities in the mandate and purpose.

Shrug, changes nothing material.

Agreed, but it's signaling, and sometimes that matters.

2. Fix zoning that is strangling supply and reinforcing exclusion

a. Reduce exclusionary zoning in municipalities with populations over 100,000
through binding provincial action:

Sure, but how....

This isn't actionable as is. It's a nice goal, but the meat is through the specific measures they've suggested later. I think it should be removed.

1) allow conversion of underutilized or redundant commercial properties to
residential or mixed residential and commercial use "as of right," which
means without requiring municipal approval

In a word: 'No'; simply put this would blow a hole through any effort to preserve employment lands at all; by allowing a developer/proponent to define redundant or under-utilized, both of which
can be self-inflicted.

Make some additional employment lands conversion easier, simply by admitting where its already happening and being pro-active, yes; but not as described above.

Agreed. Employment land is super tight in the GTA and doing the above is counterproductive.

2) allow any type of residential housing up to four units and four storeys on a
single residential lot, subject to the provincial urban design guidance
proposed in recommendation [X]

Sure, but proposed this way it will get too much opposition, either apply this arterial roads only, or go to two storeys or 1 storey greater than the prevailing permissions, the greater of the two.
Not ideal, but it will pass.

I understand where you're coming from, but I suspect that even this limited plan would get opposition. My take is: strike while the iron is hot. People want something to be done about housing and house prices. Let's make single-family-only zoning a relic of the past.

3) enact Building Code and other policy changes to ensure meaningful
implementation (e.g., allow single-staircase construction for up to four
storeys, allow single egress, etc.)

Open to this, providing there are mandatory sprinklers, otherwise 2 exits is an essential safety feature in the event of a fire.

*note, we should be requiring sprinklers in all SFH construction, as has been done in Vancouver for years.

Agreed.

4) permit secondary suites, garden suites, and laneway houses province-wide

Yes, absolutely. I think this one stands a good chance of passing, low-hanging fruit.

Agreed. However, I suspect the devil is in the details. There are plenty of ways for municipalities to make it hard to build secondary suites, garden suites or laneway housing. See Toronto's own rules for an example.

5) use provincial tools to increase size, height, and density of all land along
major and minor arterials and transit corridors (including bus and streetcar)

Yes. This will get some pushback, but its a perfectly good idea and one totally worth a fight. I'd be content to compromise on as-of-right height permissions, for now
to get this through. Existing permission or four storeys, the greater of the two. (I'd support more, but that alone would do wonders, and crack-open lots of good sites.)

Same comment as with the as-of-right zoning. I think you'll get a lot of pushback regardless, so just go for the max.

6) designate or rezone as mixed commercial and residential use all land along
transit corridors and all RA (Residential Apartment) to mixed commercial
and residential use in Toronto

Yes

Agreed.

7) encourage and incentivize municipalities to increase density in areas with
excess school capacity to benefit families with children

Fine, but amorphous, lacks actionable items.

Agreed. Maybe the four-unit, as-of right zoning solves this.

8) Ensure municipalities use land for new communities efficiently and
effectively as they expand urban boundaries.

See above, too non-specific.

Agreed. It's not clear what "efficiently and effectively" mean.

3. Align investments in roads and transit with growth

a. Pilot the use of the Community Planning and Permit System along the Ontario
Line, Hamilton LRT, and Highway 413 and provide funding to the affected
municipalities for internal and external resources, contingent on completion of
the work within 12 months

Shrug, needlessly convoluted, a variety of measures otherwise proposed or partially implemented (MTSAs, higher-as-of-right-zoning,
wider use of MCR zoning, and reduce red tape/fees/barriers for smaller applications would all be more useful) Also no to the 413, period, full-stop.

I don't know what this refers to, so I can't meaningfully comment on it.

A-2
4. Give municipalities the right incentives

a. Develop a ($500 million/large) provincial housing accelerator fund to reward
municipalities that meet timeline, growth, and density targets.

No. Bureacratic nonsense. Invest the 500 pro-actively to unlock housing potential where investment in key infrastructure will make it possible. ie. New/expanded schools, parks libraries etc. One-time money, program is over and done in 5 years, (incentive to get the process started and done).

I don't agree with the specific action item you suggested, but agree with your assertion that this accelerator fund isn't the best use of $500M. I suspect the authors were trying to get municipalities to comply using a carrot; I don't think it'll work.

5. Start saying “yes in my backyard”

a. Create a more permissive land use, planning, and approvals system and
invalidate rules that seek to prevent growth or change, including to character,
in neighbourhoods

- exempt from site plan approval all projects of 10 units or less that conform
to the Official Plan and zoning by-laws

Maybe. I need to see what that would permit that is now not permitted. If we're just eliminating paperwork for its own sake, great.
But if there are rules enforced by the SPA process that would be by-passed, that needs discussion.

I worry that "needs discussion" is code for "add roadblocks". I think we should be making upzoning and creating multiple units as painless as possible. My understanding is that Toronto Planning is deeply overworked (and probably underpaid), and in this situation waiting for an SPA will stall projects. Of course, the solution would be to fix the staff problems at Planning, but that would require the Mayor and Council to actually have a budget that increases taxes more than inflation for once. I don't see that happening.

-establish province wide zoning standards for minimum lot sizes, maximum
building setbacks, minimum heights, angular planes, lot sizes, shadow
rules, front doors, building depth, landscaping and floor space index;

No. It doesn't make sense to have the same exact rules everywhere, communities are different from one another, the province should avoid micromanaging, and impose as
needed.

While I agree with you in principle, I think in practice municipalities put in rules to make it hard to intensify - even when zoning permits. I'm more militant on this as a result: put in the same rules, and let the cities deal with the mess they brought on themselves.

restore pre-2006 site plan exclusions (colour, texture, and type of materials,
window details, etc.) to the Planning Act,

No, we have enough trash design as it is; there is an argument for allowing more specificity on material quality, rather than mandating less.

It's not clear to me that the current rules are actually doing anything to improve materiality. If they aren't they should be removed.

and in cities over 50,000 reduce or
eliminate minimum parking requirements; and

Yes.

Agreed.
 
b. Disallow public consultation on projects up to 10 units that comply with the
Official Plan and require only minor variances

- Modify, remove the public consultation in the form of a meeting/deputation, but preserve the opportunity for written submissions over a brief period.
Members of the public can sometimes offer excellent insights, the desire should not be to exclude those, but rather to avoid needless delay or creating a forum merely for venting.

That's a very reasonable compromise.

c. Require municipalities to adhere to the maximum number of consultations set
out in legislation

This would presumably kill voluntary pre-application meetings in the community. Not sure that's wise. These
often provide a developer/proponent insight before a complete application is submission-ready, this can save money and time.

I'm not sure that's the only intent. The more consultations you do, the more your costs increase and the higher the price of the units built.

d. Require that all public consultations provide digital and accessible participation
options to include more people

Yes

Agreed.

e. Require mandatory delegation of site plan approvals and minor variances to
staff or pre-approved qualified third-party technical consultants and eliminate
Committees of Adjustment and local appeal bodies

Open to this, as the CoA process is certainly broken, and needlessly slow.

Agreed again.
 
I think it's pretty well established that apartment vacancy rates are extremely low in Toronto and increasingly across the country; plus 70-90% of new build condos are bought by investors in anticipation of high/growing rental demand as you mentioned.

I'm not sure more supply is the answer for ownership.

Take China: something like 20% of units across their country are empty because they were speculative purchases by investors. It seems like many/most of those units didn't make it onto the rental market. Granted, that wouldn't be the case in Toronto, but it goes to show that even a significant chunk of supply won't necessarily fix the problem. At best, new supply, especially apartments, will become more rentals. The fundamental issue is that housing has become an investment vehicle. Until that changes, speculative demand will grow to whatever level of supply we throw at it. And part of choking off speculative investment bubbles is by tightening credit.

I agree with you that tightening credit and investor-driven purchases is necessary. For example, I'm in favor of:
  1. Restricting ownership to residents.
  2. Requiring laddered increases of downpayments for additional properties (for example 30% for an additional property, 40% for the next after that, and 50% for each subsequent purchase).
  3. Requiring laddered increases of mortgage rates for additional properties (same tactic as above, to make it more cost-prohibitive to carry multiple properties)
  4. Increasing the stress-test even further.
  5. Aggressively enforcing primary house ownership/reporting rules.
  6. Having a lifetime cap on capital gains from housing sales.
I'm sure there are more money-side strategies that can be executed.

As to your supply point: not all supply is the same. My contention (from looking at the increase in the condo -> detached price gap) is that ground-related housing is in much more demand, and there's very little supply freeing up for multiple reasons. If we increase supply there and make it hard for that supply to be eaten up by investors, I hope we'll see prices moderate over time.
 
Time for another mega-post! Sarcastic yay. I've removed every quote I agree with in order to unclutter the post.
I'm not sure how one 'proves' this; except to say, that if you brought demand down to historic norms, in light of current supply, I find it difficult to imagine sustaining current prices.
There is no question there are other contributing factors stimulating demand as opposed to immigration alone; but based on a historically normative curve, I don't see supply as the key issue.
It is is a key issue if we intend to sustain current trends on population growth though, no question there.
I see it this way as well. Running the Scotiabank data through a correlation calculator (adjusting prices to USD), the housing supply: housing price ratio is -0.3828, which is weak correlation. I didn't do price increases, nor did I adjust for cost of living.

It's probably mostly our doing anyways.
Immigration targets do not include foreign students, or TFWs.
I'd like to see a total immigration to housing price increase graph, something I don't have time for.
Are you sure? Maybe check the per ft2 numbers? I have a funny feeling that SFH sizes have not shrunk nearly as much as multi-family units in size. (but in fairness, I haven't checked that yet)
Condos are currently 42% of the price of a detached SFH, while it was 60% in 2010. I don't have time to find average sqft, so take from that what you will.
Yes, but we also need to drive up incomes; that that happens when you constrict labour supply, not bloat it.
You need fewer workers than jobs to drive productivity investment, and wage growth.
We have the opposite problem.
I'd argue that productivity is a poor metric. Here's a chart of productivity by province:
1645487273468.png

Here's one by industry:
1645487339012.png


Hardly seems like an economy I'd be looking for.
Another reason I...question...the notion that immigration alone is the cause of house prices skyrocketing is to look at a country that's fairly close to Canada, and where immigration levels have held steady: the US. Just looking there, you'll see that over the past two years US house prices have increased by double digits annually.

I do think there's a really bad supply/demand imbalance, but I think it's being caused by multiple factors:
  1. Millenials are hitting their peak home-buying years, and...there's not a lot of supply around.
  2. People want ground-related housing, and zoning rules have made it incredibly hard to build more of it.
  3. Both these factors mean that anyone who wants to buy a home to live in will bid more than they would prefer, thus pushing median prices higher.
  4. Supply is being snapped up by investors, many of which can use a house that they currently own to finance a downpayment on a new property, thus crowding out first-time homebuyers. Since investors are optimistic they will overpay for future returns, again pushing median house prices higher.
We can't really do anything about (1). I disagree about (2) - unless you want a suburban hellscape like Houston or Dallas, you can't really build SFH for everybody. I agree that investors are probably a major source of our increases though.
That's correct, but it's unlikely that they are directly pushing up home prices. Unless the reasoning is that investors see them as a pool of renters, and are willing to pay top dollar for a house to carve up and rent out? But if that's the case, why all the empty units that are anecdotally reported? (FWIW, I think it's far more likely that home owners are building out lots of secondary suites, legal or not, and renting it out to these TFWs/foreign students; see Brampton as an example.)
TFWs and foreign students are still going to have to live somewhere. It will be owned by somebody else, but they are still using a dwelling. If you removed TFW and foreign students owning houses completely, there would still be a similar amount of demand for housing.
I don't know that checking sqft numbers matters, because what the home-buyer (not investor) cares about is the final cost of the unit, since that's what drives your down payment and monthly mortgage costs. That said, in the last quarter of 2021, the gap between detached and condo prices is the largest it's been since 2017.


View attachment 381154
What about in percentage points? It doesn't seem to be as large as you make out. The gap definitely has increased, although how much of that is due to the fact that condos are being built faster than SFH.
We consistently disagree on the primary cause of wage stagnation. I think it's because Canada over-concentrates on low-growth and/or low-productivity industries (government, construction, resource extraction as a few examples) and you believe that it's primarily caused by an over-expansion of the labor market. Maybe there is no primary cause and it's both.
I think it probably is both. If there's any lesson to be learned from previous crises, it's that the cause is never simple.
Agreed, but it's signaling, and sometimes that matters.
COVID sure hasn't stopped investors. Nor has the huge amounts of shoebox condos.
This isn't actionable as is. It's a nice goal, but the meat is through the specific measures they've suggested later. I think it should be removed.
Like you said, it's about signaling.
I understand where you're coming from, but I suspect that even this limited plan would get opposition. My take is: strike while the iron is hot. People want something to be done about housing and house prices. Let's make single-family-only zoning a relic of the past.
I'm on the fence on this one. More limited consultation will probably draw less attention, but eliminating SFH is the ultimate goal. I personally don't think there is enough support for the latter just yet, but I like pleasant surprises.
Same comment as with the as-of-right zoning. I think you'll get a lot of pushback regardless, so just go for the max.
There are different levels of pushback. One is more feasible, the other is a "better" goal. The only issue with trying to eliminate SFH zoning at once is that, if you fail, the chances of getting something else passed is much less, because you've just drawn attention to these measures.
While I agree with you in principle, I think in practice municipalities put in rules to make it hard to intensify - even when zoning permits. I'm more militant on this as a result: put in the same rules, and let the cities deal with the mess they brought on themselves.
I'm with Northern Lights on this one. What would work in Toronto probably wouldn't be well received in London, or Ottawa, or North Bay. That being said, the housing crisis is expanding - if you read the housing thread on SSP, you'll know all the banter about housing prices in the Niagara Region (Ottawa and London, off the top of my head, are also experiencing housing affordability issues).
It's not clear to me that the current rules are actually doing anything to improve materiality. If they aren't they should be removed.
I don't really care about material quality. We certainly don't really see much with the current plans. I know it's not a binary choice, but if I had to choose, affordability beats building quality every time.
As to your supply point: not all supply is the same. My contention (from looking at the increase in the condo -> detached price gap) is that ground-related housing is in much more demand, and there's very little supply freeing up for multiple reasons. If we increase supply there and make it hard for that supply to be eaten up by investors, I hope we'll see prices moderate over time.
There we go, the proper formatting.

That's the point I wanted to make. There is no magic bullet - deconstructing this crisis will take strong leadership by politicians (truly the hardest part of the plan!), a painful crash, high interest rates, reduced immigration, and a crackdown on money laundering. At least, that's how I see it. I hope we can do this, but I have no faith in our elected "leaders" to implement policy that will solve this issue. /sigh
 
Condos are currently 42% of the price of a detached SFH, while it was 60% in 2010. I don't have time to find average sqft, so take from that what you will.

Here to help:

1645488855484.png


From: https://www.canadianrealestatemagaz...-size-toronto-paying-more-for-less-334871.asp

That's the point I wanted to make. There is no magic bullet - deconstructing this crisis will take strong leadership by politicians (truly the hardest par of the plan!), a painful crash, high interest rates, reduced immigration, and a crackdown on money laundering. At least, that's how I see it. I hope we can do this, but I have no faith in our elected "leaders" to implement policy that will solve this issue. /sigh

Something like that.

You either re-set housing prices or you re-set median incomes, or some combination of the two.

The longer you defer action on either/both, the more painful the adjustment gets when it hits.

****

Quick note here that I'm throughly enjoying this exchange w/yourself and @allengeorge and @Undead
Its great when we agree, but also insightful when we don't; particularly when the differences are explained at length and buttressed by evidence!
 
Will respond to DirectionNorth’s response in a while. Separately: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/bus...tia-freeland-interview-canada-economy-future/

A chunk in the middle about housing. My notes:
  • Disagrees that Canada’s housing prices are in a bubble (mmm…mmkay)
  • My gut says that we’ll see more incentives/tax breaks for PBR.
  • Coops were mentioned. Not sure what the Federal government can do about that, or what makes them hard currently. I do know that the condo regulations in Ontario are fairly onerous for small projects, which makes the 2-unit coops that exist in NYC unviable.
  • Again, no capital gains tax on principal residence. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an aggressive increase in capital gains tax for additional residences.
  • Did talk about preventing financialization of housing and foreign money. Honestly, aggressively enforcing money laundering and tax rules would be welcome.
Separately, I was underwhelmed by the response to Canada’s long-term economic growth. I think that we often miss out on big moves because - as a culture - we’re loss-averse as opposed to focused on potential upside. That’s a long-term problem in my opinion. I do agree that we need childcare. Actually - we need to make it easier for Canadians to have a good life for their families wrt the basics: health, housing, childcare and education.
 
In that list of the basics - childcare, health, housing and education - I would add eldercare, food and food security, employment opportunities, recreation.

Agree fully with your comment on 'big moves' - we seemingly lost that focus shortly after completing the first transcontinental railway.

Now lets see what Chrystia has to say.
 
Will respond to DirectionNorth’s response in a while. Separately: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/bus...tia-freeland-interview-canada-economy-future/

A chunk in the middle about housing. My notes:
  • Disagrees that Canada’s housing prices are in a bubble (mmm…mmkay)
  • My gut says that we’ll see more incentives/tax breaks for PBR.
  • Coops were mentioned. Not sure what the Federal government can do about that, or what makes them hard currently. I do know that the condo regulations in Ontario are fairly onerous for small projects, which makes the 2-unit coops that exist in NYC unviable.
  • Again, no capital gains tax on principal residence. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an aggressive increase in capital gains tax for additional residences.
  • Did talk about preventing financialization of housing and foreign money. Honestly, aggressively enforcing money laundering and tax rules would be welcome.

Good observations, and I'm inclined to concur.

Separately, I was underwhelmed by the response to Canada’s long-term economic growth. I think that we often miss out on big moves because - as a culture - we’re loss-averse as opposed to focused on potential upside. That’s a long-term problem in my opinion. I do agree that we need childcare. Actually - we need to make it easier for Canadians to have a good life for their families wrt the basics: health, housing, childcare and education.

Again, we agree here; we may differ in some respects on what the big moves should be; but I certainly think there's a range of ideas which we should be both studying and implementing.

But, as this is a zoning thread, I think I'll reserve my thoughts on that for now, but share them, perhaps in new thread in one of the other sections.
 
A very intriguing article in The Star today which discussed a report from Mississauga Planning taking a look at the Province's Affordability Task Force report on possible reforms to zoning/planning in Ontario.
Mississauga is supportive of some; but opposed to many; and above all suggests most of the changes won't make any different to how much housing is built, because developers just won't build if it means depressing the price they can get!
Interesting assertion, and one supported by some builders in the article. Needless to say the home-building lobby group BILD took issue.

At any rate, here's the article link:


At time of posting, the article is behind the paywall.

I will, however take a few select excerpts for the purposes of getting debate started!

"Mississauga’s top planner is casting doubt on the effectiveness of recommendations from Ontario’s housing affordability task force — arguing that easing building permissions won’t result in enough new homes to push down costs, since developers could phase in construction.

“This premise is questionable, and staff have found that developers phase growth in order to manage any downward pressure on unit prices,” wrote Andrew Whittemore, the municipality’s commissioner of planning and building, in a report to Mississauga councillors this week.

In the report, he said city staff were neutral or supportive of dozens of the task force’s ideas — such as permitting secondary suites like laneway houses provincewide and simplifying planning legislation and policy documents. But he raised red flags about nearly 20 of the 55 proposals, claiming some were based on the idea that letting developers build higher and denser would naturally result in more supply and lower costs."

****

"In Mississauga, Whittemore said 20,000 potential units — mostly condo apartments — had been approved for zoning and sat waiting for a building permit application. More than half those units had been greenlit more than two years ago, his report said — which he saw as “ample time,” while acknowledging potential hurdles from labour to financing."


****

So as not to quote excessively, I will note here that they all ask Gregg Lintern (Toronto's Chief Planner) for his thoughts, and he supports Mississauga's assertion that there is lots of approved stuff that isn't getting built..

There are then some conflicting assertions from BILD and a mixed view from CMHC without much evidence in support of it.

But then there's this from Oxford Properties:

"But Steve Nightingale, vice-president of development for Oxford Properties — which is planning a development in Mississauga that aims to have 18,000 residential units phased in over several decades — said particularly with rental buildings, they had to consider how many units to put onto the market at once, so they would still be snapped up quickly enough at the rates they wanted."

Also quoted is John Pasalis, president of the Realosophy brokerage, who hedges a bit but leans towards saying that yes, managed supply to support high prices is a thing.

The article closing quote from him is below:

"Private companies, overall, had an interest in maximizing their profits, Pasalis said. “They’re not really in the business to drive down the price of the product they’re selling.”
 
Is this an argument that the industry is too concentrated?

Isn't this an argument for relaxing exclusionary SFH zoning? If we allowed multiplex development in the yellowbelt, this opens up housing development to small-time developers who don't need massive financing, complex approvals, or long lead times to deliver additional housing stock.
 

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