Much has been written about Canada’s housing crisis and, in particular, the present crisis of housing affordability and availability in the GTA. Sales of single family homes have fallen steeply over the past couple of years as prices have increased, and mortgage rules have tightened, while the supply of new homes has been limited. Many buyers have turned to condominium apartments as their only affordable alternative, pushing condo prices ever higher. And the availability of rental accommodation has neared the zero-bound as more and more would-be buyers can only afford to rent, few rental apartment buildings are being constructed, and the GTA population continues to swell.
The Ontario Housing Supply Action Plan recently introduced by the Ford government is a step in the right direction, however, as this Huffington Post article cogently summarizes, the roots of the housing crisis run deep, and the problems will not be easily solved.
As the article describes, there are strong vested interests that will resist any changes in the status quo, and the costs of making significant changes will be high at a time when governments at all levels are already deep in debt. It is certainly possible to make a significant dent in the problem, but it will require creative approaches and an extraordinary degree of co-operation among the various stakeholders, both of which have been sadly lacking.