A new Ipsos poll has revealed that the majority of GTA residents believe it is important to build new housing types in the GTA to address housing affordability in the area. However, nearly half of respondents state they oppose of building a new development in their neighbourhood.
The poll, released by The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), showed that 87 per cent of GTA respondents understood the need to build additional homes in order to fix the supply/demand imbalance. However, of those polled, many opposed the building of small apartments (49 per cent), mid-rise apartments (52 per cent), and high rise apartments (59 per cent) within a half kilometer of their home. The opposition, also known as NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard), is categorized as those who understand the need for development, but do not want the development to occur in the area in which they reside. This has been an ongoing issue, especially in major metropolitan areas, as more communities are beginning to speak out against developments which, in turn, are causing delays for housing types to be built. “If we want to truly address housing issues in the GTA we need to take a comprehensive approach and that means being open to innovative ideas and change,” states John DiMichele, TREB CEO. While communities are realizing the need for change, in order to create a solution to housing affordability, opposition groups like NIMBY must be open to change and allow for Toronto to grow. “These results show that building more new homes is seen, overwhelmingly, as a critical part of the solution to housing affordability. However, overcoming resistance to change and ‘not in my backyard’ sentiment in existing neighbourhoods is a huge barrier that municipal leaders can help overcome by taking a leadership role” stated TREB President, Garry Bhaura
Outdated zoning bylaws in various municipalities across the GTA have also been contributing to the supply shortage. Additionally, nine out of ten respondents agreed that municipal zoning by-laws should be reviewed and updated to allow for “greater flexibility in creating middle-density housing types.” Currently, the zoning bylaws for urban areas across the GTA only allow for the development of single-detached homes (over half of the city is zoned for this home type). These outdated laws are contributing to the already extensive approval process, and as a result are causing delays in bringing new housing projects (like the missing middle) to the market. “Outdated zoning rules and other obstacles need to be reconsidered,” states DiMichele, “The same policies will get us the same results, and that’s just not good enough anymore,” DiMichele concluded the report by reiterating the importance of reaching out and letting election candidates know what are the current issues facing home buyers and renters in the GTA.