Delays in Approvals and Delivering Land for New Communities Make New Homes Less Affordable

November 20, 2018

New Approach to Growth Policies is Required to Accommodate Growth

Greater Toronto, November 20, 2018 – The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and Malone Given Parsons Ltd. (MGP) released the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Land Supply Analysis today. The analysis shows that the former Government of Ontario’s growth policies (the 2006 and 2017 Growth Plans) have had the unintended consequences of lengthening the land development and approval process in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), which in turn has negatively impacted housing supply and affordability.

“Growth policies implemented by the former provincial government from 2006 and 2017 have reduced the amount of available land for new housing communities, increased land prices and have caused home prices to skyrocket,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO, BILD.

 
Observations arising from the GTHA Land Supply Analysis are as follows: 

  1. The percentage of available land that has been approved for new housing communities in the GTHA is 4.5 per cent and decreasing.
  2. Some municipalities in the GTHA have yet to conform to the 2006 Growth Plan requirements, missing the 2009 target by nearly a decade, resulting in less housing being built across GTA municipalities versus Growth Plan forecasts.
  3. As land supply dwindles and as municipal delays increase, the value of serviced land has increased by over 300 per cent since 2006.
  4. Existing low density neighbourhoods in the GTHA are resistant to intensification, pushing density to urban cores and to new communities near the fringes of the GTHA. The latter are far away from transit and infrastructure, putting a greater reliance on cars and increasing traffic congestion.
  5. More gentle density homes (stacked-townhouses and low-rise apartments) should be built within walking distance of  transit in Built-Up areas of the GTHA. This will maximize investment in infrasture and transit. However, community resistance to increased density makes building in this area time-consuming, expensive and subject to intervention at the municipal level.

“Land use in the province of Ontario is highly regulated  and the 2006 and 2017 Growth Plan changes have slowed down the approval process to bring new land on stream for new communities,” said Matthew Corey, Principal, MGP. “Increasing the supply of new land for housing is subject to a process that can take as long as a decade or more.”

Recommendations:

  1. Make more vacant land available for new communities.
  2. Cut bureaucratic red tape and reduce duplication in the planning and approval process.
  3. Avoid pushing too much density to fringe areas and away from transit and existing infrastructure.
  4. Encourage moderate or gentle intensification across the region by clarifying and amending  Growth Plan policies to encourage intensification across the GTHA.
  5. Maximize investment in transit and infrastructure.
  6. Provide greater certainty for future development by identifying the agricultural and rural lands in the inner-ring (Whitebelt) as future urban areas in the Growth Plan.

Purpose of this Analysis

This analysis provides an accurate accounting of greenfield land supply in the GTHA and Simcoe through mapping and land area statistics for each of the upper and lower-tier municipalities to determine if the 2031 population and job forecasts of the Growth Plan will be achieved. It also provides an overview of official plan land use designations and corresponding density to characterize the planning context and as a basis for discussion of key challenges to development in each region.

About the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD)

With 1,500 member companies, BILD is the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area and Simcoe County. The building and renovation industry provides $33 billion in investment value and employs 271,000 people in the region. BILD is proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations.

About Malone Given Parsons Ltd.

Malone Given Parsons Ltd. (MGP) has been providing planning, economic and development management expertise to the public and private sectors since 1978. The firm is one of the largest planning consulting firms in Canada offering partner level specialized expertise in urban and regional planning, master planning, development approvals, retail and commercial market analysis, economic development and growth management strategies, and land economics.