Housing affordability now a ‘Top Priority’ for over half of Ontarians

New OREA survey shows affordability is getting worse and Ontarians want more bold action from Government

TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New polling from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) confirms rising concern among Ontarians about the cost of living and housing affordability – for the first time since OREA began this polling in 2021, over half (51%) ranked housing affordability as their top priority for Government focus. This represents a 16% increase since June 2021, indicating Ontarians are becoming increasingly concerned about housing affordability despite Government action.

Conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of OREA, the Housing Affordability in Ontario: Perceptions, Impacts, And Solutions (Wave 4) survey additionally found that Ontarians are struggling financially: while the majority of respondents (52%) can cover their expenses every month, they are unable to save money, and 17% are unable to cover normal expenses in the first place without taking on debt or cutting back. For aspiring homeowners, this figure jumps to 29%, making it even more difficult to save for homeownership, especially with everyday essentials like food, utilities, and rent payments continuing to be top financial stressors.

“For most of Canadian history, it was a given that every generation had a better shot at homeownership than the last. Homeownership fostered vibrant and stable communities and was foundational to a great quality of life,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “But today, that dream is slipping from too many young families in Ontario as they are frozen out of the housing market due to a historic lack of housing supply driving up prices. These issues cannot be solved without Governments taking bold action.”

While 80% believe there are steps the Ontario Government could take to improve housing affordability, only 15% approve of the job being done thus far; with 55% believing decisions the provincial government has made over the past three years have made it more difficult to buy a home. Top factors cited that are most impacting/most important to affordability include the availability/cost of land (47%); increased immigration to Canada, the cost of borrowing for builders, and foreign investors (42% each); and a shortage of skilled trade workers (34%).

“It’s clear that homeownership is top of mind for many Ontarians. Pro-growth, pro-housing solutions must continue to be championed if we want to get more shovels in the ground and bring more supply to market,” said Hudak. “This is the only way Ontario can meet the goal of building 1.5 million new homes in the next decade and improve affordability for our province’s would-be homeowners and families.”

The Ford Government has made some important progress toward this goal, including permitting secondary units as-of-right province-wide and introducing the Building Faster Fund to incentivize municipalities to hit or exceed their annual housing targets. However, more action can – and should – be taken to increase supply and improve housing affordability.

Ontario REALTORS® continue to put innovative pro-homeownership ideas on the table for the Government of Ontario to consider, many of which address top concerns outlined by Ontarians:

  • helping mitigate availability/cost of land by ending exclusionary zoning (72% support or can accept)

  • helping lower the cost of borrowing for builders by providing provincial loan guarantees for affordable housing projects and purpose-built rentals (83% support or can accept)

  • addressing the shortage of skilled trade workers by increasing support and funding for colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships (86% support or can accept)

Over 150 REALTORS® met with their local MPP at Queen’s Park during OREA’s REALTOR® Advocacy Day in November in support of the above recommendations, totalling 86 meetings across all parties.

For more information, please contact:

Jean-Adrien Delicano
Manager, Media Relations