Photo: James Bombales

GTA home prices have climbed to historic highs over the past two years, and now residents are calling on the government to intervene, according to the results of a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute.

The Institute’s “Pain Index,” released today, ranks residents worries about the cities in which they live. In Toronto, concern about the deterioration of housing affordability topped the index.

“It is interesting that housing has risen to be the top issue on the index,” Angus Reid research associate David Korzinski tells Livabl. “I think it’s a combination of things, but I also think prices have reached a place where many residents consider it to be a crisis.”

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A whopping 56 per cent of homeowners felt that home prices were hurting the GTA, while 13 per cent would like prices to drop by 30 per cent or more. Roughly a third said that current home prices had a negative impact on their household. Location, low interest rates and foreign investors were listed as the top three perceived reasons for high home prices.

Amid the concern is an expectation that the provincial government will step in to address the affordability crisis. According to Korzinski, the majority of respondents wanted government policy to focus on first time buyers, rather than established homeowners.

“You see a real preference in terms of what people want the government to do, and it’s to help first time home buyers, instead of preserving the assets of people already in the marketplace,” he shares.

While the Ontario government put a foreign buyers’ tax in place last spring, as part of the wider-reaching Fair Housing Plan, Korzinski says that GTA homeowners are looking for a more drastic change when it comes to housing affordability. Many said they would support speculation tax for those who don’t pay taxes in Ontario.

“We’re looking at people who want to put 30 per cent of their income towards housing costs, and that’s just not what’s happening at the moment,” he says.

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