Cost of Housing a Key GTA Municipal Election Issue: Poll

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) have come together to shed light on voters’ priorities in the upcoming municipal elections.

“Residents of the GTA are concerned about housing affordability and availability,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO, BILD GTA. “People are concerned about where young families and first-time home buyers will live, or if they will be able to afford to live in the GTA at all.”

Some of the key results from the poll are as follows:

When considering the issues in the upcoming municipal elections, Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents say that the cost of housing and infrastructure are just as important as addressing crime.

Almost 40 per cent say that the cost of housing is among their top-three election issues, statistically tied with crime and infrastructure.

Notably, GTA residents across all areas express this to be an election priority of theirs, including those living in York(42 per cent), Toronto (39 per cent), Peel (39 per cent), Durham (31 per cent), and Halton (29 per cent).

The cost of housing is an especially important election issue among certain groups of GTA residents, including:

Millennials (48 per cent of millenials vs 42 per cent of those aged 35-54 and 25 per cent of those aged 55 and over);

Renters (62 per cent of renters vs 26 per cent of home owners), those living with relatives or parents (50 per cent) and;

Women (43 per cent of women vs 32 per cent of men).

  • 68 per cent of GTA voters say the cost of housing has impacted them directly in some way.
  • 40 per cent say it has affected their ability to save enough for retirement;
  • 34 per cent say it has affected their ability to afford a major purchase or a vacation;
  • 24 per cent say it has affected their ability to buy a home;
  • 20 per cent say it has affected their ability to make upgrades to their home;
  • 12 per cent say it has impacted their ability to save for their children’s education and 11 per cent say they have put off having a child or another child.

It is estimated that 115,000 new residents call the GTA home every year.

By 2041 the population of the GTA is expected to swell to 9.7 million putting increased pressure on the housing supply in the region.

Only 33 per cent of respondents feel that the GTA is prepared to provide housing for this influx of people over the next 23 years, while the balance feel that the GTA is ill prepared. Furthermore, 67 per cent of those polled feel that their children will be unable to afford a home in the community they grew up in.

“If we want to build more houses, faster, to increase affordability and availability, we should look at what can be done at the municipal level. It is important that housing affordability is part of every municipal candidate’s platform. Voters and candidates can learn more about this at www.buildforgrowth.com,” said Wilkes.

One of the key issues facing home buyers and renters in the GTA “is inadequate housing supply and choice, and one of the main reasons for this is municipal policy that unnecessarily locks up housing options. We are encouraging home buyers and renters to let municipal election candidates know their views through TREB’s new election campaign web site:

UnLockMyHousingOptions.ca; it is easy as the website does all the work for you,” said Garry Bhaura, TREB President.

It is noteworthy that the Home Building Industry and REALTORS(r) have joined forces on this issue.

“TREB is excited to be working with BILD to ensure that important housing issues receive the attention that they deserve, from both candidates and voters, during this municipal election campaign. As the poll shows, housing issues are top of mind for the electorate,” said John DiMichele, Chief Executive Officer for TREB.

Your Comments