Photo: James Bombales

The Ontario homebuilding industry has long maintained that a lack of available land has made it difficult to create enough new housing stock to satisfy buyer demand. And now, they’ve created a new study to support their claims.

Currently, just 4.5 percent of greenfield in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is available for new development, according to a new joint study from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and planning consultant firm Malone Given Parsons (MGP).

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Up to 55 percent of land designated for development by 2031 is currently claimed, while 40 percent has already been built upon, 8 percent is under construction and 7 percent has recently been approved by local municipalities.

The region is set to grow by 115,000 residents per year, and BILD believes that the demand generated by such strong immigration numbers will drive home prices to new heights in the next decade. The average cost of a new single-family GTA home was $1.1 million in September.

“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 of BILD, in a statement.

Wilkes is referring in part to the 2006 Growth Plan, which BILD believes has made existing low density neighbourhoods harder to develop, while limiting the amount of serviceable land for new housing communities.

“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,” reads the report. “The latter are far away from transit and infrastructure, putting a greater reliance on cars and increasing traffic congestion.”

The report calls for more vacant land to be made available for new housing, a streamlining of the planning and approval process, and the encouragement of moderate or gentle intensification across the region by amending current Growth Plan policies.

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