The Green Belt and Toronto property

by REP12 Mar 2014

By: Simon Milberry

Until 2005, the Greater Toronto Area was developing in a manner not unlike that of Los Angeles: vast urban sprawl. Recognizing the hazards of this approach to development, the government of Ontario passed the ‘Places to Grow Act’ in 2005.

In short, it has fundamentally shifted the nature of home construction from single-family detached and semi-detached homes in the outlying regions of the GTA to condominium units in in building scattered across the city.

It did this by creating a ‘Green Belt’ around the city that contains development within its borders, forcing developers that want to build in the city to get into the high-rise game.

Every major city encounters a point where its growth hits a wall and it has to build up instead of out. Some cities become limited by geographic constraints but in the case of the GTA, the wall is policy-based. Either way, it triggered a fundamental shift in the marketplace.

Even though the state of the economy is not particularly strong and the condo market is cooling off, we are still seeing robust numbers in the single-family dwelling market segment throughout the region which is undoubtedly resulting in part from the legislation and expected to continue well into the future.

As the adage says, “Put your money in land because they are not making any more of it.” This applies even more so to anyone buying property in the GTA.

As a consequence of surging construction of high-rise residential units and a decline in the same for single-family dwellings, we will see in in the medium- to long-term the prices of the single-family dwelling housing stock perform better as their prevalence becomes increasingly rare.

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