Monday Morning Quarterback: Ontario’s Big Housing Announcement

Toronto Politics | October 31, 2022

You heard this story from me last year, but I’m going to tell it again.

When I’m not selling houses and condos, I work on land consolidations.  “Land assemblies,” as they’re known.

Many of you have been approached over the years by that supposedly deep-pocketed developer who is going to give you 300% of fair market value for your home so he can build townhouses or condos, only to have your dreams quashed days, weeks, or months later.  I could talk for days about this, especially as a client of mine just went through this with a developer who promised him and his neighbours riches, only to lowball them with a below-market offer, and a two-year conditional period.

But what most people don’t realize is that this is how most condos get built.  There are only so many empty parking lots left in the city on which a 70-storey tower can be built.

So from time to time, I’m tasked with assembling six, eight, or twelve properties upon which a condo tower can be built.

It’s frustrating and often demoralizing, but when you succeed, it’s exhilarating.

thought I had succeeded last year, having assembled twelve houses, on two sides of a street, upon which over 500 condos could be built – including 30% affordable housing.

But when the developer had his first call with the city councilor in this neighbourhood, he or she told the developer, “…..over my dead body.”

He or she said that this project would never move forward, as the neighbours would complain, and it was this city councilor’s job to appease the residents of the neighbourhood.

The project died.

The conditional agreements were terminated.

The deposits were returned.

And this city didn’t get the housing that it so desperately needs.

I’ve often said that 99% of attempted land assemblies fail, but I think that figure is low.

I had this site assembled, dead-to-rights, ready-to roll.  Central core, high density, steps to the subway, and some NIMBY, lefty city councilor shut it right down.

That is Toronto.

And that is what we need to change.

I took a LOT of flak for writing about the NIMBY’s in Leaside on multiple occasions this year.

May 4th, 2022: “Welcome To Toronto: The City Of NIMBY’s”

August 8th, 2022: “A Real Estate Case Of ‘Know When To Fold ‘Em'”

The people that contacted me and told me to “stay out of their business” are pathetic and bored, and above all, they’re wrong.

Because that is my business.  This city is my business.  And this city has been in trouble for a long time.

While it’s all the rage to write about how we “need more housing” in Toronto in 2022, I’ve been saying this on TRB since the late-2000’s.

When the government’s “changes” to public policy concerning real estate and mortgages was always addressing demand-side measures, I was the first to scream “It’s about supply.”

Now, I fear, it’s too little, too late.

It’s 2022.  We’re way behind.

Not just in terms of housing supply but in terms of public transit, which resembles something more suitable for the population in 1971.

Earlier this week, the Ontario government made an announcement with respect to the “More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022,” which, despite it’s stupid name, will probably do more to address the housing crisis than any piece of legislation before it.

HERE is the official press release.

There’s a lot to discuss in this, so while some of you will skim, others will skip to the comments, and a few of you have already read this press release in full, let’s cover all the bases here…

Addressing the Missing Middle

Building on a suite of as-of-right residential tools Ontario has provided municipalities with since 2019, Ontario is proposing changes to the Planning Act to create a new provincewide standard threshold for what’s allowed to be built by strengthening the additional residential unit framework. If passed, up to three residential units would be permitted “as of right” on most land zoned for one home in residential areas without needing a municipal by-law amendment. Depending on the property in question, these three units could all be within the existing residential structure or could take the form of a residence with an in-law or basement suite and a laneway or garden home. These new units must be compliant with the building code and municipal bylaws. These units would also be exempt from development charges and parkland dedication fees.

This is a game-changer, folks.  And it’s long overdue.

In December of 2020, I wrote: “The Friday Rant: Mind Your Own Business!”

I took damage from that blog post.  It strained my relationship with some media members, as I took issue with certain reporters who authored an inaccurate smear piece on a young man who wanted to build a triplex on a piece of land that he bought.

Essentially, a young, enterprising individual purchased a dilapidated house and wanted to build a triplex, and the neighbours – one of whom was an architect with her own personal agenda, fought the development, called the media to the site, and even tied themselves to the porch.

It was ridiculous.

And two years later, the young man has completed his triplex, thereby adding three homes to the city’s housing supply, and having paid through the nose in development fees.

It’s a shame that it took so long, cost so much, and had to be fought in the media.

And with the new legislation from the Ford government, this won’t happen again.

Note that I bolded two sections above, one noting that three units would be permitted in residential areas, but also that these would be exempt from development charges.

I find it incredulous that when an individual wants to tear down a bungalow to build a McMansion, there’s no development charges, but if that individual wanted to build a three or four unit property, which this city desperately needs, then several hundreds of thousands of dollars must be paid in development charges.

Then why would anybody want to build multi-unit?

That’s seemingly rhetorical because they wouldn’t.

If you tax people into inaction, you’re never going to get their help to build housing.

And this piece of legislation is great.

Does it open the door to somebody building multi-unit in an area where the residents don’t want it?  Yes, in theory.  But nobody is building a triplex on Edgar Avenue in Rosedale.  It would be cost-prohibitive and inefficient.  So I reject the argument that “residents in affluent areas are going to fight this,” since they simply won’t need to.

Building More Homes Near Transit

Ontario is taking action to ensure that complete, sustainable communities are built near and centred around our historic investments in provincewide transit expansion. Proposed changes to the Planning Act would help move towards “as-of-right” zoning to meet planned minimum density targets near major transit stations, reducing approval timelines and getting shovels in the ground faster. Once the key development policies for major transit stations are approved, municipalities would be required to update their zoning by-laws within one year to meet minimum density targets.


Hey, remember that time I wrote about NIMBY Leasiders who put yellow signs on their lawns to protest “bad planning” all because somebody wanted to build a condo 250 metres away from the multi-billion-dollar Eglinton LRT?

Sweet, sweet vindication, thy name is “More Homes Built Faster Act.”

Improving the Ontario Land Tribunal to Support Building More Homes Faster

The Ontario Land Tribunal is a critical part of Ontario’s land use planning system. Proposed legislative changes to the Ontario Land Tribunal Act would help speed up proceedings, resolve cases more efficiently and streamline processes. This includes by allowing for regulations to prioritize cases that meet certain criteria (for example, that create the most housing), as well as to establish service standards (i.e., timelines for completing specific stages of a case). Proposed changes would also clarify the Tribunal’s powers to dismiss appeals due to unreasonable party delay or party failure to comply with a Tribunal order, as well as clarify the Tribunal’s powers to order an unsuccessful party to pay the successful party’s costs. Building on the $14.7 million over three years announced in the Budget, Ontario would also invest $2.5 million in other resources to support faster dispute resolution and to help reduce the overall caseload at the Tribunal.

Over the years, a lot of developments have been stalled or defeated by opponents tying up the developers with proceedings and appeals.

This is a lose-lose result, since there are going to be instances where appeals or opposition are genuine and with merit.  Unfortunately, those appeals and that opposition has been abused to the point where development has stalled and thus the tools for appeal must be completely removed.

The days of one person paying a nominal fee to the city and being able to hold up an entire development are gone, and I appluad that.

Freezing, Reducing and Exempting fees for Building Attainable, Affordable, and Non-Profit Housing

Government charges and fees significantly impact the cost of housing—adding up to nearly $200,000 to the overall cost of building a home. That is why Ontario is proposing changes to the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act and the Conservation Authorities Act to freeze, reduce, and exempt fees to spur the supply of new home construction and help address Ontario’s housing supply crisis. This includes ensuring affordable, and inclusionary zoning units, select attainable housing units, as well as non-profit housing developments, are exempt from municipal development charges, parkland dedication levies, and community benefits charges. Rental construction would also have reduced development charges and conservation authority fees for development permits and proposals would be temporarily frozen. Ontario is also undertaking a review of all other fees levied by provincial ministries, boards, agencies, and commissions to determine what impact they may have on the cost of housing with the intent of further reducing, if not eliminating these fees altogether.

You know what I always say about removing government revenue, right?

Any time a tax is cut, a charge is removed, or a single dollar of government revenue is lost, those monies will be made up elsewhere.  So we’re not really removing these fees, but rather we’re shifting revenue from Column-A to Column-B.

Regardless, I do believe that development has stalled in many areas because of the excessive taxation, and making it more affordable to build will obviously result in more building!

Streamlining Bureaucratic Processes to Get More Homes Built Faster

Proposed changes to the Planning Act would remove site plan control requirements for most projects with fewer than 10 residential units (with limited exceptions). This would reduce the number of required approvals for small housing projects, speeding things up for all housing proposals, while building permits and robust building and fire code requirements would continue to protect public safety. Proposed streamlining changes also include focusing responsibility for land use policies and approvals in certain lower-tier municipalities to eliminate the time and costs associated with planning processes by upper-tier municipalities. This would give the local community more influence over decisions that impact them directly, clarifying responsibilities and improving the efficiency of government services for citizens.

So long as safety isn’t impacted, then this is a no-brainer.

Reducing Taxes on Affordable Rental Housing

Ontario is calling on the federal government to come to the table and work with us on potential GST/HST incentives, including rebates, exemptions and deferrals, to support new ownership and rental housing development. All levels of government need to work together to get more homes built and address the housing crisis.

You know how I feel about the government of Canada’s view of Ontario, right?

We make money, they take it, and use it elsewhere.

I have a hard time believing that Doug Ford will convince Justin Trudeau to remove, reduce, or defer federal revenue, but it’s nice to see this point included.

Strengthening the Non-Resident Speculation Tax

At 25 per cent and provincewide, Ontario now has the highest and most comprehensive Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) in the country. This initiative is meant to further discourage foreign speculation in Ontario’s housing market.

This was mentioned in every newspaper column last week, but I think it’s much ado about nothing.

Free coffee to whoever can find and link the 2021 revenues from the non-resident speculation tax in Ontario.

There are more points in the press release, but at the risk of this becoming tiresome, we’ve just addressed the more important points.

What has the response to this announcement been like?

“Doug Ford Believes His Housing Bill Is ‘Bold.’ It Isn’t.”
The Globe & Mail
Editorial Board
October 27, 2022

From the article:

“The new bill contains some interesting measures – such as cutting taxes and fees on affordable housing and addressing tax inequities on rental buildings – but in sum it is totally inadequate. Mr. Clark was unable to say how many homes the new measures are expected to generate. That’s a glaring problem.”

Interestingly, the article concluded with this:

“Mr. Tory now also has “strong mayor” powers. He could deliver the change that Mr. Ford didn’t. Will he?”

So I was rather amused when I read this article shortly thereafter:

“Toronto’s Housing Crisis Is Choking The City. It’s Time For Mayor John Tory To Act.”
The Globe & Mail
Alex Bozikovic
October 26, 2022

From the article:

Right now, Toronto bans apartment buildings almost everywhere. That may sound incredible if you’ve noticed those new condos going up. But generally these are approved with the help of the Ontario Land Tribunal, which trumps the city’s obstructionist rules.

Even then, new housing is heavily concentrated in less than 5 per cent of the city. Everywhere else, there is slow or zero growth. Many Toronto neighbourhoods are actually shedding people.

This is madness. Many people want to live in the city. It should want to welcome them, not least for the taxes some would pay as homebuyers and homeowners. Instead, Toronto has pushed them out to suburban municipalities, driving up prices there and forcing them into long commutes.

Toronto’s government can do much to change this. The city should update its official plan and radically increase its targets for growth. The planning department should get a mandate to change zoning – the detailed regulations that govern each site – and allow apartment buildings to be built everywhere.

One thing that was not included in the Ontario government’s press release last week was the fact that they’ve given Mayor John Tory “super-powers.”

Mr. Tory, if he wants, can be at the forefront of change in this city.

Mr. Tory, if he wants, can now choose to stand up to obstructionist city councilors and those who hate development in any form, and instead, spearhead a building boom the likes of which Toronto has never seen.

I don’t dislike John Tory, but I don’t like him either.  And that’s because he’s never really accomplished anything in this city.  He’s just sort of managed it.  We’ve just coasted.  We haven’t had any wars and we haven’t eaten each other, but avoiding disaster isn’t really an achievement.

If we’re actually going to build more homes in the Toronto, or the GTA, or the Golden Horseshoe, or the entire province of Ontario, it has to involve all three levels of government.

The federal government needs to respect that 40% of the country lives in Ontario and thus make us a priority, however possible.

The provincial government needs to continue what they’ve been doing, namely removing the red tape that exists at the municipal levels (words like resist, obstruct, oppose, appeal, delay, veto, cancel, block come to mind…) and ensure that one city councilor or one Torontonian can’t stand in the way of massive progress.

The municipal government needs to recognize that if they’re not getting on board, then they’re going to be left behind.  Those who have visions of ice-cream stands lining a quaint street that was formerly Lakeshore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway need to see that this is not a cute little town, but rather it’s a growing Metropolis, and as it stands right now, the city is literally a tumour that’s about to burst.

I’ve long maintained that it’s impossible for any politician to truly enact meaningful long-term change, since politicians serve four-year terms, and consistently worry about re-election.  The politicians with the longest tenures are often those that ruffle the fewest feathers, and you do that, in essence, by doing nothing.

Do nothing.  Don’t act.

Don’t plan, don’t envision, and thus don’t aspire.

For this city to successfully expand into the future, politicians are going to have to take risks and often make decisions that are unpopular.  Those politicians will have to put their own job security on the line.

Who’s going to do that?  And at what level of government?

There were no shortage of critics last week, lined up to take aim at the Ford government’s announcement.  Some who criticized did so while admitting that the announcement was a step in the right direction by saying, “The government’s announcement doesn’t go far enough.”

But the reality is: the government isn’t going to be the one actually building houses.  The private sector is.  And the private sector can’t do that while obstructionist legislation and/or politicians are in place, and they certainly can’t be expected to do that without the guarantee of profits.

For those that read the announcement and lamented that the government, themselves, haven’t announced how 1.5 Million homes are going to be built, perhaps those folks need to understand who’s going to be building them.

I, for one, applaud last week’s announcement, and have a few choice words for the government: don’t slow down.

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  1. Average Joe

    at 7:54 am

    Finally a step in the right direction. Maybe all those NIMBY progressives will come to appreciate some actual progress, and having more options than 300 sqft condos or 5,000 sqft mcmansions when they want to downsize or keep the kids nearby.

  2. cyber

    at 8:22 am

    Kudos to Doug Ford for actually pulling this one through… As you mention, this is what leadership looks like – putting one’s job on the line in order to get something done (of course, with some developer buddy giveaways like stripping Conservation Authorities of powers sprinkled in, setting the stage for more houses to be built where they are absolutely not needed, on protected farmland in areas where it will be most cost inefficient to built and maintain new municipal servicing infrastructure). Don’t get me started on milque toast John Tory who has tried so hard and for so long to get in office only to basically do nothing while there… Sure he had limited powers but pretty much attempted nothing either (mentioning topics in speeches excluded).

    Now who’s going to have the cojones to make non-paying renters easier and faster to evict??? Without this reform ALSO in place, this “more homes” legislation will certainly result in fewer new homes, with mainly luxury rentals/condos to be built, and any potentially affordable basement and garden suite units just ending up on AirBnB (or more likely, not getting built), because “mom and pop” landlord can’t afford to build an extra unit only to have their tenant (i.e. 100% of tenants…) not paying rent for a year.

    1. Kyle

      at 9:32 am

      Excellent points, 100% they need to fix the LTB. The solution to delivering more housing needs to involve mom and pops to be successful. If Developers are the only ones who can practicably deliver, then the only housing that will get delivered is small condo units, and only during boom times.

    2. Alexander

      at 3:02 pm

      During our turbulent times I am not touching any rental accommodation until the government fixes non-paying and no deposit issues. Even rich tenants – doctors and lawyers – are trying to wiggle out of the damages to the rental unit. Another issue why I am on the hook to pay for water and utilities in Toronto if the tenant is moving without paying the bill?

  3. Appraiser

    at 8:33 am

    Long overdue. If implemented as advertised this legislation is truly historic in scope and potential.

    Let’s see.

  4. Kyle

    at 9:17 am

    Toronto’s Official Plan and planning process is completely broken and out of touch with reality. The City will not just allow, but will actually fast track a permit for someone looking to convert a Triplex to a monster single family home, but will do everything it can to prevent additional housing from getting built.

    While i applaud the direction of these changes, allowing three units without allowing for more lot coverage, height or reduced set backs, will limit how much traction this can get. Most houses in the core don’t qualify for laneway or garden suites. And adding three usable units in the main building is very difficult unless you can expand the footprint. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

    1. Buckley B. Buckington

      at 2:40 pm

      Yeah, I don’t think this is going to accomplish much if they don’t include some method to get rid of obstructionist bylaws. I live in Hamilton, and one of the ways that they stop you from adding units is with ridiculous parking requirements. You are required to provide enough space for a car for each unit to park side by side without taking up more than 50% of the frontage with parking. Essentially you need a minimum 35′ lot for 2 units and 55′ lot for a three.

  5. Vancouver Keith

    at 12:41 pm

    I find it astonishing that supply is mentioned as an issue in Toronto. Toronto has 126 highrise condo buildings under construction, three times as many as the second place city in North America. Toronto has led North America in crane usage for residential construction since 2015. Prices should be plummeting.

    Adding density, and building at the fastest pace in North America has damaged affordability, prices for ownership and renting have risen far above the inflation rate. The he construction industry is clearly working flat out, if you approved more supply faster in an attempt to lower prices, where would you get the labor to build it?

    Up zoning invariably increases land values to the point where cost per buildable square foot is higher than before. Vancouver in this century has rezoned every single family lot for two units, then for three. Nothing increased house prices more than that upzoning, with land prices growing fastest when lots were upzoned. It’s a losing game.

    Look at the population increases for Toronto and Vancouver, less than 1% on average yet a forest of cranes has decreased affordability. There’s something very funky about supply and demand in Canada.

    When have prices actually gone down in Canada in this century, and what were the causes? The only times the prices have fallen, is when liquidity has tightened. The financial crisis of 2009, and this year with interest rates increasing.

    You clearly can’t build fast enough to create affordability, and why would any builder add supply in a market of decreasing prices? Developers sit on land all the time, in the middle of Vancouver there is 11 acres zoned for thousands of units, the developer has sat on the land for 12 years because the price of what can be built is only going up.

    The real affordability solution is completely politically impossible – take liquidity away from the real estate market, and crash it. Increase the required down payment, decrease CMHC insurance limits, and decrease amortizations. Financialization of Canadian real estate has tossed the ordinary citizen aside first as a homeowner, now increasingly for renters. We’ve seen this movie before, it doesn’t end well.

    1. Kyle

      at 1:29 pm

      Sorry but this is plain false. The 126 hishrise buildings were already sold before ground was broken, and when they complete there’ll still be a shortage, because we’re decades behind on supply. Additional supply does not cause prices to increase. Upzoning land is but one rising input, so too is development charges, but combined neither of these inputs can raise the price if the demand wasn’t there. The reason prices are rising is new household formation. Nearly half of young adults still live with their parents and they want out. If we don’t build prices will only rise further.

          1. Kyle

            at 2:49 pm

            Like i said it is new household formation, not population driving it. When adult children decide to move out of their parents home into one of their own. The population doesn’t change, but the demand for housing does.

          2. Ace Goodheart

            at 7:58 pm

            We have 95,000 condos under construction already that no one wants.

            Interesting to see whether people will snap up the low density condos or if they will sit on the market too?

            There are three multi bedroom church condos (resale) for sale in our neighbourhood that have been on the market for months with no takers. They all have a deeded parking spot and are quite pretty (located in old churches).

            But I digress….there is a housing crisis.

            You can’t sell a condo assignment to save your life in this city…

            But there is no housing for sale at all (except maybe 95,000 unsellable new build condo assignments? ).

            Better build more condos!

            1. Kyle

              at 8:13 pm

              Housing crisis, doesn’t only refer to owning housing. It’s about not having enough residences for those that want one to live in. Ask someone who’s looking for a rental how competitive it is, right now.

        1. Vancouver Keith

          at 2:17 pm

          Now we’re getting somewhere. Clearly the supply being built, is not affordable for our younger population. Building more unaffordable supply, is not the answer. Massively building unaffordable supply, in the hope that prices will come down is clearly not working – it’s becoming even less affordable.

          We need to look at western democratic countries that have affordable housing in major cities, and follow their policies.

    2. Kyle

      at 2:17 pm

      It’s basic economics, the upzoning is not what’s causing prices to rise. It’s the demand. You can make 20 storeys as-of-right across every rust belt town in the US and prices won’t move at all. The upzoning itself does nothing.

      1. Vancouver Keith

        at 2:39 pm

        I’ve owned a house in Vancouver for sixteen years. The biggest single year increase in lot value was 38 percent, in 2011 when it was zoned duplex. In a city where the population increases by 7,000 per year. That’s zoning, not residential demand.

        In Vancouver, you can buy a teardown house for1.5 million, and build two half duplexes that start at 1.5 million apiece. The old house might have had 6 to 8 renters, and is replaced by much more expensive housing. Like tearing down a three story mid century walkup, and building a condo tower.

        The city just passed the Broadway plan, for the new subway extension. Properties are already being listed with the new FSR. The previous subway extension saw houses on the route valued at 1.5 million rezoned for midrise construction, selling for 3 million to 13 million. I doubt it’s different in Toronto.

        You still need a strategy to supplant building real estate for investors, and building real estate for local workers with local incomes. There lies the solution, and that is a supply that is almost entirely missing.

        1. Kyle

          at 2:23 pm

          You’re confusing micro vs macro. if upzoning increases prices, then by the same logic we should be able to magically create affordability by downzoning.

          So here’s a thought exercise, what do you think would happen if we suddenly said all condos are now downzoned to max 2 storeys and we’re going to just lop off anything higher than that. And everyone who lives on the 3rd floor or higher needs to move and find somewhere else to live? Yes the lot that previously had a multi-storey condo, but now has a 2 storey condo will have an outsized drop in land value. This like your example is micro. But when all those displaced ex-condo residents are now out shopping for new homes, and competing for far less of them, what do you think happens to broad (i.e. macro) real estate prices?

          1. Vancouver Keith

            at 5:52 pm

            First of all, the increased zoning in my lot was citywide, and all land values in Vancouver rose substantially as a result. You’re missing the main point, which is at current land prices, or even reduced land prices the private sector cannot provide affordable housing based on local incomes.

            A local developer did the math, in Vancouver a few years ago the price of rent with free land to the developer, was $1500 per month. Unless you crash the price of land, which cannot be done by zoning changes alone the housing market cannot provide affordable housing. New construction one bedrooms rent in the range of $2500 for a one bedroom, over $3000 for two bedrooms. This is not affordable housing for working people.

            Until Canada goes back to the co op housing model, which was building over 20,000 units of non market housing per year until the program was disbanded thirty years ago, we will continue to destroy our working middle class.

            1. Kyle

              at 6:04 pm

              You realize building more supply and bringing back a co op program are not mutually exclusive. It’s actually ok to be for one and not anti the other. Building more supply may not guarantee “affordable” housing, but under building WILL guarantee that the scarcity pricing we see today will only get worse.

    3. Nobody

      at 1:23 pm

      I direct you to the end of Billy MAdison “…what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

      Take this hippie bullshit back to Vancouver, commie. Better yet, move back to North Korea and live under your glorious leader. Your thinking has given us 230 years of genocide and it’s far past time that these ideas and the people that support them were dealt with in a manner that reflects the hundreds of millions that they intentionally murdered and are currently trying to murder.

      You, personally, are an evil genocidaire and need to be treated like one socially and by the government.

  6. Ace Goodheart

    at 7:23 pm

    There are currently around 95,000 condo units under construction in Toronto.

    About 94% of them have been purchased by investors. So only 6% of the purchasers have any intention of living in them.

    Out of the other 94%, most never intended to close. They bought the units as assignment sales, to be cashed in at some future point.

    So when the City permits 95,000 new condos, almost no one wants to live in them.

    But we have a housing crisis. You can’t sell a condo assignment to save your life (and the resale market isn’t all that hot either). But we are in crisis, and need more condos. So they can sit on the market? Unsold? Like the other 95,000?

    But wait, people say. This is not about condos. No one wants to live in those things.

    This is about bulldozing single family homes (which there is still a market for) and replacing them with SMALLER, low density condos.

    If we can just clear out Toronto’s old neighbourhoods. Cut down all those pesky 100+ year old trees. Pave over those space wasting parks. Bulldoze all those useless single family homes.

    And build more condos.

    For investors?

  7. JPR

    at 7:30 pm

    What’s not clear about the story (i.e. the development that Councillor JM squashed) is that if the development was defensible from a planning perspective, the Councillor was toothless in this fight. While a Councillor’s ‘blessings’ are always welcomed, no developer would walk from a project that can be supported planning wise….unless of course we’re talking upzoning Neighborhoods designated sites to Mixed Use….barring that, it’s not clear how the Councillor had any leverage here.

    Disclosure: I’m active in the development space.

    1. B

      at 6:31 am

      This is so interesting. Glad to know JM can’t just throw a hissy fit and stop development.

  8. Ace Goodheart

    at 11:35 pm

    RE: Kyle

    November 1, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Housing crisis, doesn’t only refer to owning housing. It’s about not having enough residences for those that want one to live in. Ask someone who’s looking for a rental how competitive it is, right now.”

    How about those 95,000 condos? Why does no one want to rent them?

    If we permit developers to tear down Toronto’s old neighbourhoods and replace them with low rise condo developments, who is going to make sure that all of these low rise developments have affordable rent? Assuming the persons or corporations who purchase them, intend to rent them out?

    Having been a landlord in Ontario for many years (finally got rid of my last rental building) I can tell you in three words why no one wants to run a rental building in this Province:

    “Tenant Protection Act”.

    Basically, someone can move into your unit, sign a lease, and that is it. You own them. They are your personal responsibility, for the rest of their lives. The lease says one year, but guess what, they never have to leave.

    They don’t really need to pay you regularly. It takes a year or more to evict them, so they can live there rent free for a long time, while you pay all of their bills.

    Our Provincial government actually encouraged them to do that just a year ago (during the pandemic) and many did exactly that.

    If you do finally manage to evict them, they just have to make some effort to catch up to rent payments, and guess what, they can stay. They don’t have to pay you everything they owe. That would be too harsh. They just have to make an effort…..a good ol’ college try….

    Oh and now they want to make it so you can’t raise the rent even if they move out….you would have to keep it the same. So everyone is raising your bills, the government wants you to convert your building into a green energy program, at your expense of course, and every year everything costs more. But you can’t raise the rent. Because that would be unfair….

    Whatever the tenants do, is your fault. If their kid flushes a towel down the toilet and floods the basement, guess what, you are running a slum. Your basement is filled with sewage. You are a slum lord! They can sue you if the sewage hurts them (even though they caused the flood, doesn’t matter, it’s your fault automatically).

    If they really want more people to be landlords, then stop treating landlords like convicted felons. No one wants the job.

    1. Kyle

      at 9:30 am

      I agree on the LTB and RTA, as i said in my comment above that needs to be fixed. But i disagree that no one wants to live in the 95000 units. Will some investors take a hit? Probably, but there is no doubt in my mind that the units that make it to completion will eventually be occupied by some one.

      As for the housing crisis, to me it’s defined as people living in ravines, cars, shelters. It’s 35+ YO’s living with their parents even though they have high paying jobs, it’s people who get evicted and can no longer afford the current market rents, it’s the ~1% vacancy rate, it’s people being unable to find a home for having anything but a peerless credit score, it’s people moving to Alberta, it’s 10+ people living in a home meant for 4, it’s people throwing up walls in their bachelor units, so they can take on a room mate, etc. I don’t think the 95K units being built now are going to solve for that, so the housing crisis is far from over.

      I don’t think the governments “more homes built faster” changes are about high-rising the entire city nor do they even remotely open the door to that possibility. About 75% of Toronto’s land is zoned for single family homes (which is frankly is kind of ridiculously low density for North America’s fourth largest City). They’re simply removing some of the red tape involved in converting those single family homes into multi family homes.

      1. Ace Goodheart

        at 12:15 pm

        Very true.

        However, how many of those multi family homes will be affordable to the folks you refer to in your second paragraph?

        Probably none of them.

        The housing plan that has been unveiled is not about building affordable housing. It is about building more housing. Whether or not any of it ends up being affordable remains to be seen.

        If it is being built by the private sector, it will not be affordable, if history is any guide there. It may actually be more expensive than the existing rental housing, that they will be tearing down to build it.

        Housing for low income folks, people living in parks, people on assistance and people who work for minimum wage, is usually accomplished by the government. The private sector won’t house these people because it can’t be done for a profit.

        What I see happening is more condo construction, and then investors purchasing the condos. Very few purpose built affordable housing rental projects will result from this.

        Also the reason house prices are so high, and young people cannot afford a house, is not because of lack of supply. The reason is we had a Federal government that until recently was intentionally holding down interest rates and printing out new currency, to fund social projects. They recently hit a wall and now can no longer do that.

        There is plenty of housing available. But when your government holds down interest rates at 0.25% overnight prime, so they can borrow billions, and floods the bond markets with freshly printed currency, this has an upward effect on house prices.

        Mortgage interest rates and house prices move in opposite directions. When rates are held low, you get a housing bubble and rampant speculation. Prices become astronomical and regular folks cannot afford to buy into the market.

        Now what is happening is the Feds have finally hit the wall. They cannot print any more money. They have to quickly raise interest rates to prevent hyper inflation and wage price spirals. So now we will see house prices coming down to more reasonable levels, and a lot of unsold inventory.

        And we will realize that the only crisis we had, was irresponsible government at the Federal level.

      2. Ace Goodheart

        at 12:45 pm

        The interesting thing about this is I can already see what is happening in my own neighbourhood with regard to the new found powers of developers to tear down and build back whatever they like.

        Our street has houses that mostly date from the mid to late 1800s (1860 to 1899 mostly). It has remained unchanged for a long time (over 140 years).

        The houses are large. Many have been converted into multi family residences, and the folks who live in these residences have been there for a long time (long term tenants on month to month, with rent control in place).

        What I am seeing happen now is all these “application has been submitted” signs popping up outside the old houses being used as multi family rentals, with applications to tear them down and replace them with new build multiplexes.

        So the effect of the new legislation, where I live, will be to export a lot of the long term residents, destroy the old historical rental buildings that they live in, and replace them with a new crop of higher income residents who will live in newly constructed multiplex low rise condo developments.

        That is what seems to be happening.

        1. Kyle

          at 1:30 pm

          I have mostly seen the opposite trend. I’ve lived in Roncesvalles, High Park and now in Wychwood. There were many grand old houses that at some point were divided up into multiplexes. But over the last decade, whenever they go on sale they are marketed as “gutters”. Often flippers and small time developers buy them and convert them back to new luxury single family homes and throw them back onto the market. They’re able to do this quickly and flip them because renovation permits get fast tracked and don’t pay development charges. Meanwhile trying to get permits to add legal units, something i’ve regretfully taken on, is proving to be a long drawn out tortuous process. The department staff just keep sending it back, making you jump through flaming hoops, they have delaying and obstructionism down to an art. So these changes may not provide affordable housing, but it should atleast help offset some of what you’re seeing in your neighbourhood.

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