Hudak team

The Ontario Real Estate Association is calling for an end to exclusive zoning for single-family homes in densely populated areas and near transit and metro stations in cities across Ontario to combat a housing crisis that affects home ownership. out of the hands of many.

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“We have moved from an Ontario affordability challenge to an affordability crisis,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “The Canadian dream of home ownership is getting out of reach and it’s time to do something about it.”

The association says it makes no sense that in many urban Ontario neighborhoods it is illegal to convert a single-family home to a city home, duplex, triplex or fourplex without a zoning change, when it is relatively easy to get a ​An outdated war bungalow converts into a monstrous four-storey house for a wealthy family.

However, if an owner wanted to take the same house and create affordable homes for up to four families, “expensive procedures, delays, and NIMBY (not in my backyard) stop that in its tracks,” Hudak says.

“You have to go through an entire zoning process, which can take up to a year or more (and) cost tens of thousands of dollars in fees, let alone legal fees. Many troops use delay tactics to empty the wallets of those who want to develop these houses so that they don’t even bother with it in the first place. This means that affordable housing in urban areas is even more scarce.”

Hudak says outdated statutes from the 1960s and 1970s “conspire to eliminate affordable housing options in our major cities and it’s time to relegate them to the ash heap of real estate history.”

OREA calls on the county to use the urban planning law to implement best-in-class zoning in the most in-demand urban neighborhoods, which would allow for seamless and legal soft-density development, without lengthy case-by-case approvals.

“This is a powerful key that will unlock home ownership for so many first-time home buyers. Once you get to the first rung of the ladder and have your first home, it’s easier to move on later. level up and free up that single-family home for another group of new buyers.”

Hudak says a broad approach that increases supply will increase affordability for people struggling to get into the housing market in major metropolitan areas. “Right now, many of our major cities are large or sprawling – monster skyscrapers or single-family homes. This would create the necessary missing element that is so appealing to first-time homebuyers or empty nesters.”

He notes that municipalities can implement zoning changes themselves or that the province of Ontario could use a carrot approach to implement changes. As part of the approach, when making infrastructural decisions about roads, transit, water or sewerage, the province must place municipalities at the top of the list that have paved the way for affordable housing.

Approximately 100,000 new homes are needed to meet Ontario’s growing housing demand. Ending exclusion policies, he said, would have the greatest effect on closing the gap in urban areas.

Millennials now in or about to enter the housing market represent the largest population in Canadian history, surpassing baby boomers because of immigration, he says.

OREA’s recommendations to implement zoning by operation of law are: part of his plan, launched at the end of September, to increase the affordability of housing.

Hudak says much of the latest federal election campaign has focused on housing affordability and the issue will be even more important in Ontario’s elections, to be held on or before June 2, 2022. The OREA campaign aims to lay the groundwork for next spring’s election campaign, the former Ontario PC party leader says, pointing out that OREA has arranged meetings with more than 80 MPPs.

According to research by Abacus Data for OREA, 78 percent of Ontarians support minimal zoning in urban areas to encourage more housing.

OREA research also found that nearly half of Ontarios aged 45 and under have actively looked to other provinces to live simply because they couldn’t afford a home in Ontario.

The prospect of Ontarians leaving for counties like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia “really grabs the attention of MPPs,” he says. “This is a major concern because it is the next generation of entrepreneurs, job creators who will look to other provinces. If that’s not a clear call to action, I don’t know what is.”

Other aspects of the Bring Affordability Home plan include allowing second front doors throughout Ontario to give more people the opportunity to create secondary suites in their homes.

“During the disco era, there were sweeping changes in Ontario that eliminated secondary suites in many neighborhoods,” Hudak says. “In the long run, it meant that there were so many rental properties in large buildings. We think you should give people more choice.” Allowing more secondary suites will open up new neighborhoods for rental properties, increase affordability for renters, and allow homeowners to use the rental income to pay off their mortgages 15 to 25 percent faster, OREA says.

Another proposal calls for the creation of a municipal challenge fund that would help municipalities trying to modernize zoning plans and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy to hire additional staff.

OREA is also calling for a doubling of the transfer tax cut for first-time homebuyers from $4,000 to $8,000. Hudak says OREA succeeded in getting Wynne’s previous administration to increase the tax credit from $2,000 to $4,000. A further doubling of the tax deduction means that starters in a large part of the province do not have to pay transfer tax. While it won’t remove the tax in the most expensive markets, it will help buyers with their down payments or renovations, he says.