University calls for development reform

by REP on 10 May 2017
Toronto is not suffering from a housing supply shortage, according to a new report from Ryerson University.

A draft report, entitled Protecting the Vibrancy of Residential Neighbourhoods, claims Toronto has too many houses and that a majority of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are currently suffering from stagnant or declining population, the Toronto Star reported Monday.

The authors Cheryll Case and Tetyana Bailey studied recent census data and found population is declining in 30 of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods and is stagnating in an additional 65.

“It’s concerning because demographically we’re changing as a city,” Case told the Star “People are having fewer kids. It’s important to have development to reflect the needs and demands of the population today. Downtown you have a range of housing choices. You don’t get those choices in the inner suburbs.

“All the condos that are built are mostly one- and two-bedrooms and that doesn’t really accommodate for families.”

The study suggests the city revamps its zoning laws to encourage the building of apartments, triplexes, and townhomes in the suburbs. It follows a recent report from the same school that also tackled the issue of supply in Toronto.

According to an April report from the Centre for Urban Research & Land Development at Ryerson University, the number one solution to affordability issues in the GTA housing market is to significantly increase supply of ground-related homes.

“What is required is a shift in the direction of the Provincial Government’s land-use planning policy to one of aggressively supporting a major initiative to bring more serviced sites for ground-related housing to the marketplace as soon as is practically possible,” the authors Dr. Frank Clayton and Professor David Amborski of the Centre, wrote in the study. “There is a need to attack this fundamental supply shortfall of serviced sites for the construction of ground-related housing independent of short-term measures designed to curtail short-term speculative-type demand.”

Supply and demand would have been balanced if not for the preference for ground-related housing over condos, according to the authors.

“Unfortunately, there has been a marked mismatch between the types of units brought to the market and the types demanded,” they wrote. “A large proportion of the new completions have been high-rise condominium apartments whereas a large proportion of the demand has been for owner-occupied ground-related housing.”

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