In a Globe and Mail column, Margaret Wente accurately describes Toronto’s housing affordability crisis and its principal cause. The Toronto area’s house prices have escalated strongly relative to incomes since the province enacted its “Places to Grow” urban planning regime. The resulting destruction of the competitive market for new residential has driven prices up, just as oil prices rise when OPEC implements strong supply restrictions.
Wente concluded her article:
“The solution to the affordability crisis isn’t high-density housing and mass transit in the burbs. It’s to give people what they want – by getting the ideologues out of the way and restoring a sensible balance between supply and demand. Can we do that and be environmentally responsible too? Central planners who think we can’t should be required to raise their families in an apartment block in Oshawa and take the bus to work. They’d find a better way soon enough.”
It’s no wonder that international researchers are increasingly pointing to house price escalation as a leading driver of rising inequality. Nor should it be surprising that a new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report will issue its first “red warning” on Canada’s housing market, principally due to out of control house price escalation in the Vancouver and Toronto metropolitan areas.