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

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

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