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Housing affordability will be ‘a big election issue’ in Ontario: Tim Hudak

Ontario Real Estate Association CEO Tim Hudak says housing affordability is on the radar of many residents.
Ontario Real Estate Association CEO Tim Hudak says housing affordability is on the radar of many residents. Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

The CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association says it sounds like housing prices will be an issue in next year’s provincial election.

Tim Hudak told CHML’s The Bill Kelly Show that the association held a summit last month with homebuilders and those who provide rental housing in the province.

Hudak said they learned the details of a recent survey conducted by the association that showed more than 80 per cent of respondents in Ontario believed housing affordability will be a big election issue in 2018.

READ MORE: Ontario proposes banning real estate agents from representing seller and buyer

“I think you can make the argument that it’s been a lot of government interference that has made it a lot more expensive to own a home,” Hudak said. “By that I mean there have been a lot of rules over time that have compounded that have limited housing supply and limited housing choice in the marketplace.”

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“We don’t have enough quantity of homes in the marketplace in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area.”

READ MORE: Homeowners stretched too thin: Report

Hudak said an association survey on the value home ownership also revealed some interesting findings.

“We found that despite higher prices in 2017 and 2016 people still said, rightly, that it’s still a smart investment,” the former Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader said.

“You can go with a stock or bond but you can’t live in a stock … and over time [home ownership] shows to be a very wise investment.”

“We need to do more when it comes to the quantity, so let’s look for land that is housing ready that’s been designated that way in official plans and let’s actually target government infrastructure funding — water, sewer, roads or transit — to those parcels of land,” he added.

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“Secondly, let’s give more choices. Not everyone is going to live in a high rise condo their entire lives. So let’s give choices from the high rise condo to the detached house to what they call ‘the missing middle’ which is really good for millennials and empty-nesters.”

A recent poll conducted by EKOS Research shows about two in five Canadians believe housing is too expensive for them.

READ MORE: Poll finds just two per cent of Vancouverites view housing as affordable

About 37 per cent of upper-income respondents feel local housing is beyond their means, while about half of lower- and middle-income respondents feel they cannot afford home ownership.

The results of the telephone poll of 5,658 Canadians, conducted between June 1 and 19, is considered accurate to within 1.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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