WATERLOO REGION — A provincial housing affordability summit this week must focus on alternative housing options — not just single-family homes — and building homes more people can afford, a housing expert has said. lodging.
“Someone who had a good job ten years ago could afford a single family home in Stanley Park. Now, if they’re lucky, they could afford a townhouse or a unit in a four-plex,” said Craig Ruttan, director of housing policy at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
Ruttan, who is from Waterloo Region and grew up in Punkydoodles Corners in Wilmot Township, said for more potential buyers, the concept of a home needs to evolve beyond the single-family home.
This could mean owning a unit in a duplex, triplex or quadruplex.
It’s about accommodating more than one family on a lot, said Ruttan, who co-owns a duplex in Toronto with another family. The other family lives on the top floor and he and his partner live on the ground floor.
Ruttan said the housing challenges point to the obvious – not enough houses. There is a high demand for housing and little supply.
“People want to live in places where there are good jobs like Waterloo Region and we just don’t have enough homes, especially affordable homes,” he said.
According to a recent survey by Royal LePage, the region ranks among the top five of 62 Canadian markets in terms of price growth for individual properties.
In Kitchener and Waterloo, the median price of a single-detached home at the end of last year was $926,000. In Cambridge, the same detached house costs around $927,600. This is more than 30% more than the previous year.
The Toronto Board of Trade presented a document to the province ahead of the summit this week, suggesting that the Ontario government end exclusionary zoning.
Many housing advocates often refer to this as the “missing middle”. The push is to see more varied forms of “low density” housing in neighborhoods that are predominantly single family homes.
“It’s really about building homes that might be affordable in the income bracket of an existing resident who was lucky enough to buy their home ten years ago,” Ruttan said.
In Kitchener, duplexes and additional units, often referred to as tiny homes, are permitted with building permits and are not included in exclusion zoning.
Premier Doug Ford and the province’s housing minister, along with major city mayors and regional presidents, will meet for a summit on Wednesday to address severe housing shortages in the province.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said he hoped the summit would find ways to build more homes and make housing more affordable. Some of the options include reducing red tape and increasing the efficiency of planning and housing approvals.
Ruttan said there should be more efficiency around municipal planning approvals on applications.
“When you build buildings, time is money. Faster municipalities can do reviews and approvals and work with developers, then that will be an important part of solving this problem.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said the city is working to streamline the development process, cutting the time between pre-submission consultation and receiving approval in principle by 60%.
The city is also working on inclusive zoning, allowing for more affordable housing units. Governments should also look at access to mortgages, he said.
“There is a way to increase it so that it doesn’t increase construction inflation but starts to increase supply. It will start to have a positive impact on prices,” he said.
Vrbanovic said it would take a “very coordinated and disciplined” policy approach from all three levels of government to address the housing shortage.
Going from renting to owning is extremely difficult, Ruttan said.
The Chamber of Commerce report suggests allowing individuals to own part of a building, such as a floor unit in a triplex. These patterns of shared ownership are happening in British Columbia, he said.
“It allows them to gain equity and build wealth in the real estate market.”
The spike in home prices is shocking, Ruttan said.
“All of a sudden we wake up and people realize that their children and grandchildren can no longer live in the neighborhood they live in now,” he said. “It’s crazy to think about it.
“The Canadian dream of the suburban single-family home is evolving based on cost and what people can afford and action on climate change. There are limits to the amount of land we can occupy.