Too late for government action on GTA bubble say residents


by Steve Randall

28 Aug 2018


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.”