New report sheds light on lack of housing in London Ont., for families

A for sale sign displays a sold home in a development. Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

Despite many building projects in the city, the London Development Institute (LDI) has issued a new report that says it’s not enough to keep up with the housing demand.

Throughout the pandemic, London has seen an influx of people moving to the city from the Greater Toronto Area.

The report in partnership with the LDI and London Home Builders Association looks at how neighbouring municipalities are outpacing London as more people look to relocate.

Researchers say that the London area, including Middlesex, is one of Canada’s fastest-growing metro area, fourth only to three cities in British Columbia.

“Many of the provincial government’s proposed solutions are more focused on Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area than cities outside of it,” said Mike Wallace, LDI Executive Director.

“We need planning tools and local solutions that will work for London.”

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Researchers found that while construction of single-family detached homes in Elgin and Middlesex is up 80 per cent, it was only up 10 per cent inside London.

And while families from the GTA are moving to London, there are more family-sized homes being built to support a growing number of families outside the city.

The report showed that smaller communities like Lucan Biddulph, Strathroy-Caradoc, and St. Thomas have experienced between a 20.85 per cent to 10.10 per cent increase compared to London, which has been at 10.3 per cent.

“We see the evidence of this crisis every day. Demand is so high, waitlists for new builds and renovations can be a year or longer. Rental availabilities are scarce, as are the for sale signs,” said Jared Zaifman is chief executive officer of LHBA.

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Wallace said the city needs to do more to make it easier for builders to apply for permits and it needs to look at how to address the population growth in the coming decades.

“While single-detached, rowhouse and apartment housing completions in the city have noticeably increased over the past 5 years, the report identifies an increased proportion of single detached homes being built in the broader region.  We’ve been seeing similar trends in our growth analysis,” said Scott Mathers, deputy city manager, planning and economic development, city of London.

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“The city is currently assessing our land needs for all forms of housing over the next 20 years. We have a shared desire to provide affordable housing and housing of all types for Londoners.”

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