This piece appeared in Collections magazine, Winter 2017 issue.
he Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is a victim of its own success. The region’s economic might and enviable quality of life have made it one of the fastest growing parts of North America. Currently at 6 million people, the region is expected to grow by an estimated 3 million more over the next 25 years. This tremendous growth comes with challenges, especially when it comes to housing and transportation.
We have all read the headlines or personally experienced the skyrocketing housing prices that have left a generation of homebuyers out of the market. Today, unless potential Toronto buyers have $1 million or more to purchase a house, they rent or face two choices: a high-rise condo in the city that might not be suitable for large families, or they “drive till they qualify” for affordable, detached family-sized houses on the suburban periphery with long, congested commutes.
Although home prices are rising throughout the region, it’s the GTHA’s hottest markets where a lack of affordable supply is outpacing demand. Expert real estate watchers know that the hottest markets for home buyers are in urban and suburban centres, particularly close to rapid transit and good jobs, be it a GO station in Oshawa or a new subway in Vaughan. While there is limited space to build detached houses in these locations, there is an opportunity to build needed “missing middle” homes–multi-unit dwellings like townhouses, stacked flats, or midrise buildings that are generally more affordable than semi or single-detached houses, and are suitable for a range of family sizes.