By Mike Collins-Williams, CEO, West End Home Builders’ Association for The

Ontario is facing a housing crisis. Simply put, there aren’t enough homes in our province and we are not building enough homes to keep up with demand. Even though housing starts increased in 2021, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation just released new research indicating that despite an uptick in construction, housing starts are not keeping pace with population growth. The best solution to fix the housing crisis is for us to build more homes at the needed rate.

More homes on the market will give everyone an equitable shot at attaining a home and building a future. During the first half of the last decade, Ontario’s population grew by 600,000 people. This growth accelerated to 1 million additional people over the second half. This faster pace of population growth in Ontario means that we need to build at least one million homes over the next decade. Perhaps one of those homes will be yours, or your children’s. With a provincial election underway, now is the perfect time to demand action from Ontario’s politicians to build more homes.

You can’t regulate your way out of a housing supply shortage. You can’t tax your way out of a housing supply shortage. You can only build your way out of a housing supply shortage. Endless processes, outdated regulations and restrictions make it nearly impossible to build homes at the rate we know we need. Red tape, high taxes on housing and government-imposed restrictions are chocking the housing supply chain, be it newly built communities, missing middle housing options like townhomes and triplexes, or high-density housing on transit.

Here in Hamilton, we are already witnessing the impact of a shortage of attainable housing options. More and more families are leaving an even more expensive and supply constrained Toronto looking for larger homes and a piece of property, resulting in bidding wars and rapid price escalation across Hamilton. It is like a cruel game of musical chairs where the lack of homes on the market means far more losers than winners. Hamiltonians are getting displaced. Research by Mike Moffatt at the Smart Prosperity Institute shows that young families in particular are getting priced out, and they are leaving Hamilton for more affordable communities down the QEW or up the 403 toward Brantford and London. In fact, over the past five years over 100,000 people have left the Greater Golden Horseshoe to find homes in other parts of the province. We are not building enough homes to keep up with demand, resulting in an exodus of families and young talent.

Looking back, the average price of a home in Ontario in 2011 was $329,000. The average price now is $923,000. The average cost to buy a home has jumped 180 per cent in the last decade while the average income has grown by just 38 per cent. While there are always adjustments to the housing market, this demand isn’t going anywhere. Ontario’s Ministry of Finance projects that Ontario’s population will grow by 2.27 million people over the next 10 years and those forecasts were made before the federal government increased its immigration targets. Can you imagine where we will be in another decade if we don’t tackle the housing crisis right now?

No matter your political leanings, building more homes is the solution to the current affordability and supply crisis that we can all get behind. Everywhere you go there are stories of families and people with good jobs who can’t afford a home. You know them. You know a couple stuck in an apartment too small for their growing family. You know a young professional who can’t make a down payment, can’t get financial support from their parents, and don’t want to move away from their families. You know someone who can’t move out of their parents’ home or has been forced to move back in with them.

Vote to build new communities. Vote to build new neighbourhoods and revitalize existing communities with more housing options. Build with your ballot.

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