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Battling the Housing Shortage

It's no secret that Toronto has a major housing shortage. To give you an idea, Ontario will need to build 1.5 million homes in the next decade, 48% of demand coming from Toronto, York, and Peel regions. That’s a lot of houses!!! In an effort to help this plea, the city most recently changed policy to allow for multiplexes.

There is hope that multiplexes will help increase supply and offer housing to a wider variety of different households and larger families. Multiplexes are defined as low rise housing containing two to four units within a single building.

Before this policy change, current zoning laws restricted around 70% of Toronto’s residential areas for single-detached homes. While exclusionary zoning will be abolished, not every Toronto neighbourhood or lot will be suitable for multiplexes. Economics will pay a big role in determining where multiplexes get built. More units on one piece of land will drive up land value and some upscale neighbourhoods will still be out of reach, while other areas may not have the infrastructure to support higher density. Like anything, change will not happen overnight.

Along with economics, builders will have to adapt to a new type of construction as Toronto has not historically built these types of structures. There will also be a need for more minor variances and consents when obtaining permits, not to mention an increased cost of production. Despite the challenges, some investors and homeowners are already moving forward with plans to renovate. With any trend there will be some early adopters while others take longer to adjust to new laws. Only time will tell how big of an impact multiplexes will have on the city and Toronto’s changing housing landscape.

Do you think multiplexes will help or hinder Toronto’s housing crisis?


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