New Ryerson University study show: Lack of supply driving Toronto’s GTA house prices, Frank Clayton, senior research fellow at Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development says. ( http://fw.to/oaxvwdC )
The above analysis of current fact-based studies reads VERY similar to the initial studies of the Vancouver real estate market published a couple of years ago. Ah yes, remember way back then when the discussion was civil and potential solutions were being brought forward. That was then – but soon “The Angry” started targeting ‘foreign buyers’ as the main culprit believing that if they said it enough times and loudly that it would overwhelm the debate. They even went so far to troll/attack/insult anyone who didn’t ‘drink the angry Kool-aid.”
It seems like their strategy worked because now the discussion is so divided, political and volatile that many potential solution providers and academics have just stepped away. A sad situation that has then led to a policy being built based on ‘social media trending’ rather than long-term sustainable solutions.
This all occurred despite new data being brought forward, markets showing sign of slowing (as they always do) and actual solutions, that included many facets, were on the table. Short term responses do NOT solve long-term problems – but they sure do make for great headlines.
PLEASE Ontario Learn From This Mistake
Ontario, don’t let YOUR discussion on the GTA real estate market descend into an angry war between factions fighting for headlines rather than real life solutions. After watching what happened on the West Coast, I do urge you to work together to find solutions based on reality not perception. Yes debate is important, and you know that someone will attempt to make this a ‘political’ issue (meaning they would prefer to get votes rather than solutions).
You will witness “The Angry” will try to take over the debate by yelling loudest (and getting most media coverage by doing so), but I encourage you to rise above that noise.
Fact-based Discussions MAY Lead To Solutions
Of course you can’t ignore basic facts around the GTA market, including this detailed report that places some of the blame on Government Policy titled “The Places To Grow Act” which limits supply of land and forces densification into cities and towns in the region.
This policy is similar to the “Agriculture Land Reserve Act” in BC that limits outward growth on Vancouver region which I believe was a good and important piece of legislation – but they had to know that implementing it would decrease affordable housing.
So lets begin with some fact based discussion of the GTA housing market situation by taking a few minutes to read this important analysis published by the well-respected Benjamin Tal:
Commitment To Solutions – Not Rhetoric
Let us keep the Ontario version of this housing debate civil, based on reality, using long-term planning. Right now, with low interest rates, which seem to be staying low for a long time, Baby Boomers are putting their cash into hard assets including their home – while Millennials are entering the housing market more slowly than any previous generation – yet the cohort is so large that it too is putting pressure on demand. This coming demographic shift will have more impact on the housing market than a nominal shift in interest rates.
That’s where I believe the long-term planning comes into play. And true, long-term planning doesn’t grab headlines or solve today’s (or event next year’s problems) but it does add a base of stability as well a context for debate and discussion.
There really is no “ONE THING” solution – there are many factors affecting the market and many years of momentum built up, which means that each factor needs to be discussed and addressed in a solution formula and patience during implementation is required.
If we keep this at the top of mind then, and only then, can we start designing solutions – away from “The Angry” and the ‘political.’ Vancouver region weren’t mindful enough to do so, Ontario, please learn from that mistake.