Ontario housing supply overstated by almost 1 million: study

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Published on February 22, 2024Last updated 19 minutes ago2 minutes reading time

There are only 331,600 According to the study, there are only 331,600 “shovel-ready” properties available in the province, significantly fewer than the 1.25 million figure cited by the Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario (RPCO). Photo by National Post

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Ontario's regional planning authorities are overestimating the number of properties ready for construction by nearly a million housing units, according to a new study commissioned by groups representing the province's construction and property development industries. sit in reserve.”

The study, conducted by urban development consultancy Keleher Planning & Economic Consulting Inc. (KPEC), concluded that only 331,600 “shovel-ready” properties are available in the province, well below the 1.25 million figure reported by the Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario (RPCO).

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According to KPEC, many of the units counted by the RPCO are not yet ready for construction due to a lack of approvals, permits or maintenance allocations, while others have previously been rejected by municipal councils or have been appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Additionally, the study found that the construction industry is at a decade-long peak.

“With over 160,000 new homes under construction, you would have to go back to the late 1980s and early 1990s to find a similar level of housing construction in the province,” said Justin Sherwood, senior vice president of communications at Building Industry and Land, which shared the development community (BILD), one of the commissioners of the study, in a press release. “The number of homes completed is also at a 33-year high, highlighting that claims of a 'supply standstill' do not match the reality on the ground.”

The number of ready-to-build units is significant as the province aims to build 1.5 million new homes by 2031. The figure of 331,600 units would mean there is only a 2.2 year backlog of approved units.

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Neil Rodgers, interim CEO of the Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA), which co-sponsored the study, said the inconsistencies are a sign that municipalities themselves should conduct more consistent data collection rather than relying on the RCPO.

“Municipalities already have the power to use it or lose it under the Planning Act and Ontario’s Building Code Act,” Rodgers said. “In addition to this legislative power, a number of municipalities in Ontario currently have “use it or lose it” policies in place regarding the provision of allocations.”

He said measures beyond “use it or lose it” were unnecessary and could harm future housing supply if not properly targeted.

Sherwood also warned that overestimating the number of approved units distracts from addressing real challenges such as land availability, permitting processes and infrastructure constraints, including water and sanitation.

The Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario (RPCO) did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report.

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