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Todor Todorov

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Too late for government action on GTA bubble say residents

The high cost of housing in the Greater Toronto Area is leaving many residents side-lined with little expectation that much can be done.

A new survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds that both homeowners and non-homeowners believe that real estate in the GTA is “unreasonably high” but there don’t think there’s much the government can do at this late stage.

Comparing a similar survey in 2015, ARI found that things have worsened with a larger share of respondents saying they are “miserable” based on their personal experiences.

Asked to name the top issues facing the region, most GTA residents (54%) list housing affordability as a top concern. In 2015, the share citing housing was 36%.

The influence of low interest rates on rising house prices has fallen to 30% from 44% in 2015, while the share of respondents blaming foreign investors has risen to 42% from 34%. However, most agree this is just one of several factors.

Renters plan to quit the GTA
More than half (59%) of renters polled said they are “seriously considering” leaving the GTA because of the high cost of housing in the region; they feel shut out of the real estate market.

Four in 10 respondents say they are frustrated by a long commute to work but they cannot afford to live closer. This rises to 61% among under 35s.

Government should do more
The survey reveals that more people believe that the government should be more involved in the housing market to improve affordability (68% now vs. 57% in 2015).

Most believe that first-time buyers should be the priority for government help and almost three quarters say there should be a limit on the number of homes that can be bought by buyers from outside Canada.

Despite these desires, 62% of respondents agreed that “no matter what the government does it won’t be able to make housing here more affordable.”

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