Can Zoning Bring Home Prices Down?

Ontario realtors are now joining experts and activists in calling for zoning rule changes to address Toronto's housing supply problem.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is urging the provincial government to end exclusionary single-family zoning rules in high-demand areas.

Exclusionary single-family zoning rules prevent someone from buying a bungalow and tearing it down to build two semi-detached homes, or three row houses or even a detached duplex or triplex. If you tear down that bungalow, the only thing you can build is another single-family detached house. 

“In too many Ontario cities, it defies common sense that you can take a bungalow and turn it into a monster four-storey home for one wealthy family, but you cannot build affordable townhomes for multiple families without red tape, runaround, and exorbitant costs”

“You cannot grow south into Lake Ontario or north into the Greenbelt, so we need to use the space in between to create more homes and give more choice to Ontarians.”

— OREA CEO Tim Hudak

Ending single family exclusionary zoning would be an important step forward to improve the supply of housing in the Greater Toronto Area. It will allow us to gradually make existing neighbourhoods far more dense making better use of our existing infrastructure. It would also enable smaller home builders to play a bigger role in the construction of new housing in the Toronto area.

Now all we need is a provincial government that will actually heed OREA’s advice.

Read our full monthly Move Smartly market report for Oct 2021 here

John Pasalis is President of Realosophy Realty, a Toronto real estate brokerage which uses data analysis to advise residential real estate buyers, sellers and investors.

A specialist in real estate data analysis, John’s research focuses on unlocking micro trends in the Greater Toronto Area real estate market. His research has been utilized by the Bank of Canada, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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