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Community activist questions ‘affordability’ of Montreal new housing plan

Click to play video: 'Montreal announces more money for affordable housing' Montreal announces more money for affordable housing
Montreal has announced plans to build thousands of new affordable housing units over the next 10 years, with help from the private sector. But as Global's Tim Sargeant explains, local housing activists are very critical of the announcement, saying this will do very little to help the most vulnerable members of the population – Jun 1, 2022

Montreal is ambitiously planning to address the city’s housing crisis. The mayor is teaming up with the private developers to try and deliver 60,000 new affordable units within the next 10 years.

Valérie Plante is looking for solutions to deal with the chronic housing crisis and is trying to make sure homes are affordable for low- and middle-income earners.

“What we’re putting in place right now, to be honest, should have been done like 20, 10 years ago,” Plante said at a press conference on Wednesday.

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Home values continue to skyrocket on the Island of Montreal.

According to recent statistics from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, the median price of a condominium in April was $459,000 for an increase of 11 per cent in the last year. The median price of a single-family home was $772,000, up six per cent.

“It’s probably the most affordable city in Canada and for sure in North America,” she said.

RELATED: Montreal home sales down 17% in April: Quebec brokers association

But at least one housing activist argues the word “affordable” is misleading.

“The current situation with affordable housing is that it’s kind of a murky thing. Often times, it’s labelled as a little bit below market price but a little bit below market price just isn’t reasonable for most Montrealers now,” Darby MacDonald, Project Genesis community organizer, told Global News.

MacDonald argues more social housing units paid for by the Quebec government are needed to help low-income earners.

The site of the old Hippodrome race track, owned by the City of Montreal, has remained vacant for years despite promises by city officials to build thousands of social and affordable-housing units. One real-estate developer is teaming up with the city to help deliver on the promise to build more affordable-housing units but challenges exist.

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“In certain environments affordability is going to be tougher to do. But it does not mean that you cannot do it, it’s just having to be creative,” Roger Plamondon, Broccolini Real Estate Group President, told Global News.

The mayor is hoping to find balance in building new homes within the financial reach of potential buyers.

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