Tuesday 7 March 2017

Report Urges Mixed Housing Choice, Complete Communities to Address Housing Prices

New report from Greenbelt Foundation puts Toronto region housing crunch in global context

A new report, [Global Cities: Housing Prices in Major Urban Centres], from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation finds that housing price increases in the Greater Golden Horseshoe are comparable to similar booming markets in major urban centres around the world. With 56% of the world’s population now living in cities, the report suggests that as globalization continues to bring more residents to cities, planning solutions to increase housing choice are needed.

“People are moving to where the jobs are, and municipalities need to plan for more density along transit corridors and in residential neighbourhoods,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO Friend of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The report shows this is happening around the world – and the regions that lead the way in planning to accommodate growth efficiently are going to see the greatest economic rewards while protecting our environment.”

The report encourages the Province and municipalities to ensure Growth Plan policies are used to encourage the development of more housing choice, including detached and semi-detached homes, townhouses, and mid-rise buildings with units large enough for families. These policies protect farmland and local food while delivering more affordable housing options to residents.

From 2005-2015, housing prices in Canada’s major cities have increased anywhere from 136% in Ottawa-Gatineau to 192% in Winnipeg. In Toronto, prices increased 165% over a decade. This echoes booms seen in international growth centers like Beijing, which in one year experienced a 31% increase in prices in 2016, and Amsterdam, which saw prices rise 14% that year. The same data set assessed Toronto’s increase at 16% in 2016.

“The solution is not to reverse policies like the Growth Plan that encourage city-building and discourage sprawl,” said Burkhard Mausberg. “We need to embrace a more sustainable future, not go back to low-density, car-dependent sprawl which is bad for our health, bad for our commutes, and bad for our environment.”

The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is already home to 25% of Canada’s population. By 2041, the GGH is expected to grow by 50% to reach 13.5 million. The report recommends that this growth be accommodated with a forward-looking approach that prioritizes integrated transit and smart growth, protecting farmland and building healthy communities.

Source: Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
About the Greenbelt:
Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, and a thriving economy with healthy local food and active outdoor recreation. At 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and secure. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, protect natural features, and promote sustainable growth. Learn more at greenbelt.ca.

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