Ontario's housing goals stifled by slow construction

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Small house under construction with home keys and rolls of diagrams and drawings for project

A year and a half ago, Premier Doug Ford set a goal of building 1.5 million new homes in Ontario within a decade, with specific targets for 29 of the province's largest municipalities. However, current progress suggests that construction work is slowing down – and that no area is on track to hit its target.

Toronto is performing the best out of the major cities, with new home starts since January 2022 reaching 90% of the pace needed to meet its 10-year target of 285,000 new homes. Vaughan follows closely behind at 84%.

Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Kitchener and Markham are further adrift, hovering between 50 to 65% of the target pace. The areas of most concern are Mississauga and Brampton, where progress stands at 29% and 23% respectively. In 11 of the 29 municipalities (38%), construction is progressing at less than half the required pace.

Mike Moffatt, an economist at the Smart Prosperity Institute, says that in order to achieve Ford’s housing targets on time, Ontario must increase its output to 150,000 new units per year by 2025. Failure to accelerate construction will likely lead to larger shortfalls in housing supply and affordability.

Construction work is slowing down for a number of reasons, including high interest rates and labour shortages. Notably, the Canada residential construction price index surged by 51% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2023, indicating higher costs and deterring many builders – especially as the sale prices achieved are falling.

The success of Ford’s ambitious plan will rely on the collaboration of all levels of government and the housing development sector. Together, they have the potential to overcome the hurdles that are currently slowing down construction work across Ontario and provide residents with much-needed housing.

More construction headlines

Ontario government proposing changes to crack down on huge pre-construction price hikes – CBC

Canadian developers slow to adopt construction technology: KPMG survey – The Globe and Mail

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