As documented by the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, Ryerson University, in POLICY COMMENTARY NO. 4, June 2015, Why There is a Shortage of New Ground-Related Housing in the GTA:
“The supply of new ground related housing in the GTA has actually fallen by half since
the early 2000s, from about 30,000 units in 2001 - 2003 to about 15,000 units in
2013 – 2014.”
Unfortunately, public sector land use planners, despite overwhelming evidence, still stubbornly refuse to recognize that their sustainable development policies are not working as advertised (although I would argue that they are working as planned). In other words, unaffordable housing, like unaffordable electricity, is a feature, not a bug, of the sustainable development policy agenda, (see your hydro bill).
But first, let’s get back to the panic. Under increasing public pressure, in November 2015 Ryerson University, (home to Ryerson’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, my alma mater) held an event, co-hosted by the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development and the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) titled: The Escalating Challenge of Home Ownership: Causes, Costs & Risks, during which it was bizarrely suggested by the research consultant that housing, unlike all other commodities, was not subject to the same laws of supply and demand, so therefore rationing land and taxing housing may not necessarily be the cause of exploding house prices in the GTA.during which it was
This wacky economic worldview is widely shared by prominent land use planners in Ontario.
jennifer keesmaat Verified account @jen_keesmaat
Simply increasing supply in a growing city doesn't address housing affordability,
b/c high-income ppl outbid low-income ppl, driving up rent
But, as so eloquently articulated by Frank Clayton, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, Ryerson University, in the report, Will GTA Homebuyers Really Give Up Ground Related Homes for Apartments? published August 15, 2016:
“Urban policies which try to force this by constraining the supply of new ground -
related housing will lead to even higher house prices, sub - optimal location choices,
and huge capital gain windfalls for the lucky owners of existing houses and vacant
lands on which new ground- related homes could be built.”
Of course, skyrocketing housing prices were predictable AND predicted as a result of the imposition of government land rationing policies. It began slowly enough. The Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act – enabling legislation - was passed by the Ontario Legislature in 1973.
The restriction of private property rights was so controversial at the time that it took the provincial government another 12 years to approve the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP).
(Private property rights are severely restricted by the NEP, to the point where the Niagara Escarpment Commission felt it necessary to prosecute Bob Mackie through the courts for 7 years, for the high crime of operating an archery range on his rock strewn, agricultural designated, land.)
It took a generation of indoctrination on the evils of “sprawl” before the provincial government decided to dive into the large-scale land sterilization/rationing game once again. The decades long propaganda campaign, waged by land use planners, billionaire funded NGOs, banks and governments at all levels, was so successful that the provincial government was able to considerably shorten the interval between passing enabling legislation and approving provincial land use plans.
Provincial land use plans
June 1973 - Niagara Escarpment and Development Act
June 1985 - Niagara Escarpment Plan
May 2001 - Oak Ridges Moraine Protection Act, 2001
December 2001 - Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001
April 2002 - Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (190,000 hectares)
Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004
December 2004 - Greenbelt Plan, 2005 (800,000 hectares)
February 2005 - Greenbelt Act
June 2005 - Places to Grow Act
June 2006 - Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, Places to Grow
March 2011 - Growth Plan for Northern Ontario
December 2008 - Lake Simcoe Protection Act
June 2009 - Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (2,899 square-kilometres)
November 3, 2015 - Great Lakes Protection Act
The above list doesn’t include the myriad of other lesser known plans, policies, regulations and guidelines, including the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, Endangered Species, 2006, Ontario Heritage Act, Source Protection Plans, Building Code updates, Integrated Community Sustainability Plans, etc., which cost impacts are difficult to easily quantify.
But, even in the face of a worsening housing crisis, the recent review of the Niagara Escarpment Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Greenbelt Plan and Growth Plan, does not address the unaffordability issue in any substantive way and the proposed updates, if implemented as currently written, will economically sterilize yet more land.
To make matters worse, skyrocketing housing prices in the GTA are further fueled and abetted by historically low interest rates, which make million dollar houses seem affordable to middle class families desperate for ground related housing.
The issue is currently so politically hot, that on June 23, 2016, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced “the creation of a working group of officials from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the Province of British Columbia, and the cities of Vancouver and Toronto—to study the current state of the Canadian housing market and provide policy recommendations.”
Given the recent rhetoric of prominent academics and public sector land use planners – their refusal to admit their culpability for the current housing crisis - combined
with my experience participating on various federal/provincial/municipal/conservation authority committees, my prediction is that the working group will ignore the obvious policy drivers of the housing crisis – land rationing, high housing taxes and onerous regulations - and offer preferred policy options that the utopians have not been able to push through to date, such as “inclusionary zoning” (which is simply a euphemism for communism). Because, ultimately, sustainable development, as evidenced by the Green Energy Act, is not about protecting the environment, but rather it is a globalist plan, facilitated by the United Nations’, to destroy private property rights - the foundation of western, developed nations - ration the basic necessities of life and impose collectivism worldwide.
Update: On December 8, 2016, Bill 7, Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 (PAHA), received Royal Assent. PAHA enables municipalities to impose inclusionary zoning requirements on builders.