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Zoning Reform Ideas

Toronto housing survey. Make your views heard. Don't let the NIMBY local opposition to everything be the only voice out there.


I have duly filled this out, and my contacts in planning will laugh if they read it; they will recognize my responses in an instant.

Starting with my maxing out of every available character. LOL
 
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I don't know who Geoff Kettel is, but he seems like a not very nice person.
IIRC he’s the head (?) of FONTRA, which has been against each and every one of the zoning deregulations brought forward. He definitely seems like he wants Toronto to remain stuck in the 1960s urban typology.
 
CBC had a story today which is not bad, other than devoting valuable space to some NIMBY who represents like 10 people and is against building housing because...


One can certainly disagree with Mr. Kettel, but his views hold sway with a lot more than 10 people, as such they are worthy of consideration.

I don't mean deference, I mean giving thought to the argument, so that one can intelligently counter it.

For instance, I agree that a six-storey building next to a bungalow is a non-sequitur. Its very hard to create a working design for that, that makes sense for both uses.

Now, that doesn't mean you don't build the six-storey.

It means you rightly answer the concerns this way:

1) All bungalows will be removed from upzoned main streets. SFH housing will remain on main streets only where historically designated, and that is a reasonable retention, over a relatively small distance/area.

2) In general SFH properties which back into a main-street fronting lot, where there is no laneway as a divider, will also see redevelopment and intensification, at a lesser scale (topping out at 4s) creating a gradual transition to lower density.

3) Laneways, deep lots and rear setbacks above the the 3rd floor can maintain an illusions of privacy and reasonably ensured continued skyview/sunlight for much of the day.

4) The proposed changes will not impact the interior of 'neighbourhoods'

There, now Mr. Kettel can be quiet.

Lets not just shout down Nimbys, lets understand the arguments, provide reasonable replies that mix 'selling change', with an awareness that change is easier to sell if you mitigate it at the edges.
 
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If those guys are out there taking maximalist protectionist positions, we need people on our side taking maximalist positions too. That makes you look like the reasonable compromise, rather than somewhere between your position and his.

LOL, when I intervene in support of Housing Now applications or similar, that's how it works now.

I offer that, they can go with my position, or take @HousingNowTO 's instead. Suddenly the height I propose seems so much more reasonable.

****

In general, I don't believe in maximalism; the thing is.............if someone gives you the finger, and you return that in kind so as not to seem a sap, you risk an escalating confrontation that may not serve either person well.

I don't see land-use planning or anything else any different. I believe in listening to concerns and then either debunking them, as appropriate, or addressing them, as appropriate.
 
And if you get a big enough group of people to take positions even more maximalist than @HousingNowTO, we'll compromise and land even closer to them. And maybe get some housing built for a change.

I do think that we're generally coming to a better appreciation that the positions taken by groups like Kettel's are maximalist, extremist positions, rather than reasonable ones framed in reasonable concerns.
 
True, all of North America suffers from the same problems.

That is such a ridiculous statement.

Its really intellectually unfathomable.

Its illogical, irrational and not in line w/the facts.

Canada had more housing starts per capita than ANY European Country in 2022. The following are the absolute numbers, from Statista, I then show per capita beside the original stat.

France: 376,000; 5,550 starts per million people
Germany 217,000; 2,608 starts per million people
Poland 200,000; 5,298 starts per million people
UK 178,000; 2,644 starts per million

Now

Canada 275,000; 6,875 starts per million

****

I sense you need more

Australia: Housing starts per million in 5,447

China: Housing Starts per million: 4662

****

Now we please bring conversations here back to reality and not some alternate fantasy universe?
 
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That is such a ridiculous statement.

Its really intellectually unfathomable.

Its illogical, irrational and not in line w/the facts.

Canada had more housing starts per capita than ANY European Country in 2022. The following are the absolute numbers, from Statista, I then show per capita beside the original stat.

France: 376,000; 5,550 starts per million people
Germany 217,000; 2,608 starts per million people
Poland 200,000; 5,298 starts per million people
UK 178,000; 2,644 starts per million

Now

Canada 275,000; 6,875 starts per million

****

I sense you need more

Australia: Housing starts per million in 5,447

China: Housing Starts per million: 4662

****

Now we please bring conversations here back to reality and not some alternate fantasy universe?
And yet Canadian Housing starts per capita and in absolute terms are still lower than there were at their peak in the 1970s. It doesn't really matter that much that housing starts are at record highs, because Canada has had a chronic shortage of housing construction for 40 years now.

Screenshot 2023-12-07 at 1.56.37 PM.png
1701986091046.png



Even before the current migration surge under Trudeau the 2nd, Canadian housing prices were already surging way past disposable income.

1701986379504.png


Population growth

Also the fact that Canada growing at 1.8% per year yes only has 1.23 times more housing starts per capita compared to France, growing at 0.3% per year, or 1.28 times more than Poland, whose population is shrinking 0.5% per year is ridiculous

One English speaking country that has tackled its housing crisis is New Zealand which is only growing at 0.2% per year.

1701987185256.png


And the number of housing starts they needed to bring prices down to even approach pre-COVID levels was an average of 8970 housing starts per million.

Region \ Year2021 (housing starts per million)2022 (housing starts per million)2023 (housing starts per million)
Auckland11700130009600
Wellington640068005700
Nationally940098007700

Note: new dwellings consented means the same thing as housing starts

All this suggests that even at 6875 housing starts per million, Canada needs to reach much greater levels of housing construction in order to start bringing prices down. Potentially at least double that rate in the most inflated Canadian cities.
 
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Rising and sustained higher interest rates have had a habit of influencing housing prices and housing starts in a profoundly negative way, and may be doing so now and may do so more yet, as BOC is holding rates steady, with the caveat that they may yet rise again, and many, many mortgages up for renegotiation in this new interest rate environment. There are other factors prolonging this rise in prices to date and the related ‘lack’ of housing - inflation, the ability of so many to ‘invest’ in housing as an investment, and the fact that housing is seen as an investment, not just as a nice place to live, the rise of Airbnb, and the artificially high rates of legal immigration, not to mention international students, illegal immigration etc. Housing in larger urban areas has been under pressure for years - London was and had been a classic example for many years. Canada, Ontario and Toronto have been on a sustained building boom for a long time, some would say since the end of the Second World War and the arrival of boomers as babies. Beyond the actual number of starts, many would argue that some of the inputs adding to housing demand are seriously out of whack write the reality of Canada right now, and the answer that we just need to build more housing is not the only answer, it’s just one of the answers.
 
And yet Canadian Housing starts per capita and in absolute terms are still lower than there were at their peak in the 1970s. It doesn't really matter that much that housing starts are at record highs, because Canada has had a chronic shortage of housing construction for 40 years now.

View attachment 525445View attachment 525444


Even before the current migration surge under Trudeau the 2nd, Canadian housing prices were already surging way past disposable income.

View attachment 525446

Its funny, we can look at the same set of facts and draw entirely different conclusions.

Your conclusion is that the problem is housing starts; I would argue the exact same charts above show that the problem is population growth. If Canada reduced its population growth to G7 norms (at or below 0.5% per annum); our housing starts would be just fine.

The labour shortage would then drive wages up; and also investment in productivity which in turn supports greater wage growth.

The surge in population, has served to drive down wages, by goosing labour supply, and in turn reduced investment in productivity because labour is cheap.

Of course, all that cheap labour still needs to be housing.

So you can solve the problem by creating ten of thousands of new workers in the trades out of thin air; making capital mysteriously appear, and at cheaper rates, and by delivering vast public subsidies to lower the cost of housing.............

Or you can cut foreign students back to the level they were at in 2005; (600,000 fewer people); and you instantly create the equivalent of 400,000 units of housing out of thin air, and drive the price of rent and ownership down by ~20% or more.

I prefer my solution.

All this suggests that even at 6875 housing starts per million, Canada needs to reach much greater levels of housing construction in order to start bringing prices down. Potentially at least double that rate in the most inflated Canadian cities.

Except that its not possible, there is no labour supply to do this work; there are willing to loan out that kind of capital at a price that makes any sense, and as long we keep artificially inflating demand, we won't see any reduction in price, even if we could double construction rates. Which again, for the record, we cannot. And even if you could import the workers needed (which you can't) they would then need to be housed, making the problem even worse.
 

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