Housing supply

RESCON: More needed to boost housing supply

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Although progress is being made, a slow approval process and higher development costs are hurting us

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There have been positive signs on the housing front as the provincial government and Toronto Mayor John Tory offer solutions to the situation. But there is still a lot of work to do.

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The provincial government is taking action to address the severe housing shortage and build 1.5 million homes over 10 years through initiatives such as the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, which will provide tools to address deadlocks and speed up development times in Toronto and Ottawa.

The government also intends to work with municipal partners to expand transit-supportive communities and explore partnerships to leverage surplus provincial land for housing.

All good news.

Now Toronto Mayor John Tory has released a five-point re-election plan that aims to tackle the housing shortage and aims to speed up approval times and get homes built faster.

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The mayor plans to expand housing options by allowing “missing middle” housing and allowing more mid-range density on major roads and in areas served by public transport, such as along the Danforth Ave.

He also proposes cutting red tape and creating a Development and Growth Division at City Hall that will serve as a one-stop shop to streamline the approvals process and speed up housing construction in the city.

A commitment to more missing intermediate housing starts this process. Encouraging the construction of purpose-built rental housing by reducing fees and charges as well as prioritizing demand is also a good idea, as Toronto lags behind other North American cities in the production of purpose-built housing. effect.

Purpose-built rentals are the number one type of housing most newcomers to the city seek, and with more than 400,000 immigrants coming to Canada each year, the need for this type of housing will be even greater.

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The changes proposed by Mayor Tory are a positive step towards solving the many existing problems to stimulate housing supply and deal with the crisis.
For example, the current application approval process in Toronto is also siled and lacks oversight as applications move between municipal departments.

Development approvals take an average of 1.5 to 2 years to obtain. The Concept 2 Keys office has been tasked with improving approval processes, but the office does not have the authority to hold staff and departments accountable to the city’s own timelines.

A development and growth division, combined with a modernized and digitized approvals process, can help address these and other issues related to delays in completing review work. This will create predictability that will reduce the risk of proposed new projects.

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Toronto has set a nine-month deadline for reviewing complex planning applications, but it takes an average of 21 months to get approval.

At RESCON, we have made it our mission to increase the supply of housing and reduce the cost and time it takes to get projects through the maze of approvals and reduce the cost of housing and ultimately increase the stock of accommodations.

That’s why we’re still concerned about the 46% increase. 100 of development charges approved by Toronto. This kind of increase during a market correction is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Taxes, fees and government levies on residential construction in Toronto remain the highest in North America, representing 24% of the cost of a new home.

With the huge increase in development charges taking effect, that total will be well within the 30% range. If government charges alone were removed, the cost of housing in Toronto would be 10-24% lower.

Developers are eager to work with government to address housing supply and affordability challenges, but key barriers still need to be removed to build faster.

Richard Lyall is President of the Home Builders Council of Ontario (RESCON). He has represented the construction industry in Ontario since 1991. Contact him at media@rescon.com.

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