New polling data released by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) shows that Ontarians feel housing affordability in the province is getting worse and the future is not looking better for homeownership without greater government action.
Conducted by Abacus Data for OREA, the Housing Affordability in Ontario: Perceptions, Impacts, And Solutions report found that 46% of prospective home buyers under the age of 45 have considered or are considering moving out of the province to afford a home, while 33% under the age of 29 are definitely (11%) or very likely (22%) to buy outside of Ontario.
More than half of these aspiring buyers (56%) are pessimistic about the possibility of buying a home in the community they want to live in. Not addressing the housing supply shortage could have a detrimental effect on Ontario’s competitiveness and ability to retain talent.
“The lack of housing supply is leading many to look outside the province for their first homes and that will make it difficult to retain and attract talent in Ontario in the near future,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “The Government of Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Act is an excellent first step but, if we want to reverse this brain drain, municipalities also need to deliver by opening up more housing opportunities.”
There is widespread support for government actions to address housing affordability, with Ontarians saying that provincial political parties and local politicians would both benefit from including addressing housing affordability in their election platforms. A very strong majority of Ontarians feel that housing affordability should be a very high (31%) or a high (36%) priority for the Government of Ontario.
The majority (68%) agree that there are things the Ontario government could do to make the housing market more affordable. The ideas they support include:
- Stopping money laundering in the Ontario real estate market with a publicly searchable registry of who owns the properties (91%)
- Introducing tax credits and incentives for homeowners to make improvements in their homes or improve energy efficiency (90%)
- Making it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the market by increasing first-time home buyer tax rebates (89%)
- Redeveloping surplus commercial properties into housing (87%)
“The affordability crisis continues to crush the dream of home ownership for many Ontarians and this has been intensified by the economic impact of the pandemic,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “Governments need to act if we want to create future generations of homeowners and that starts with pro-growth policies that could bring affordability closer to first-time home buyers and address the supply shortage.”
Consistent with past OREA research, the poll also shows Ontarians agree that the housing sector can be the engine for Ontario’s economic recovery. Almost half of Ontarians believe that residential construction will be key to economic growth and job creation when the pandemic is over.