Housing affordability measures coming ‘very soon’: Wynne

TORONTO — A package of housing affordability measures that could have a swift impact on the hot Toronto-area housing market will be introduced “very soon,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday.

Wynne wouldn’t provide further details on those measures, but she acknowledged the need for immediate relief at a time when the average price of a detached house in Toronto has surpassed the $1.5-million mark.

“There is a need for some action that will have an impact fairly quickly, but we also know it’s a complex market and we have to be judicious in the way we bring forward initiatives,” she told The Canadian Press from Illinois, where she met with Governor Bruce Rauner to discuss trade.

“We’ll be bringing forward a package of initiatives very soon and I’ll let that announcement take place,” said Wynne.

At Queen’s Park, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown called for longer-term measures to address housing supply shortage, accusing the government of standing by as housing prices have reached “a crisis point.”

Brown said the government needs to reduce the “red tape and regulatory burden” on building new houses, and called for a panel of experts to develop housing market measures, as well as to address housing demand by collecting data on speculative vacancies.

“It’s nice that they’ve joined the conversation, but all they’re offering is conversation,” Finance Minister Charles Sousa said of the Progressive Conservative proposals.

Josh Gordon, a Simon Fraser University associate professor who is studying the Toronto-area housing market, said one thing the government could do is target the demand.

“Fundamentally, the government needs to change expectations and, in my view, the main thing that would change expectations and dramatically curtail this kind of panicked demand is something like a foreign buyers’ tax that is stiff and targeted at the Toronto market,” Gordon said.

“That would have an immediate impact on the amount of demand, by affecting foreign demand, but also would scare off a lot of the investor demand as they wait and see what happened,” he said.

Measures to expedite housing supply wouldn’t have an immediate impact on the housing market, he said.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association has said Ontario’s restrictive growth plan that’s been in place for the last decade — known as Places to Grow — has contributed to the current housing shortage and soaring home prices.

But Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro dismissed that suggestion last week, saying there is enough serviced land — connected to municipal water and wastewater systems — in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to accommodate three to four years’ worth of development.

Just Posted

Accused murderer tells all to Mr. Big undercover officer

Joshua Frank tells undercover police officer he shot the Klaus family

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre prepares to open

Non-profit will run the facility and agencies will provide staff

Rocky Mountain House man arrested for child luring

A 30-year-old Rocky Mountain House man was arrested after allegedly having explicit… Continue reading

Parkinson association will close offices but maintain services

Offices closing in Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

WATCH: Central Middle School students’ Christmas tree

A group of Central Middle School students are set to show off… Continue reading

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Blackfalds RCMP arrest “armed and dangerous” man

A 38-year-old man, who police identified as armed and dangerous, was arrested… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s own hammock deer garners celebrity status

After getting tangled in a backyard hammock the deer in Prince Rupert has T-shirts, Facebook page

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month