More affordable four-unit homes proposed for Burlington as housing crisis intensifies


Published October 13, 2023 at 3:16 pm

four-plex houses proposed for Burlington real estate affordable
Example of a four-plex in Portland - Flickr

With the housing crisis deepening, it appears that one solution–including more homes containing up to four separate units–is on the table in Burlington. 

Although Mississauga council recently voted to send a motion calling for the inclusion of four-plex homes back to staff for more study, it appears that Ward 4 Coun. Shawna Stolte is hoping her city will be receptive to the same idea.

In a motion set to be presented to council at an upcoming Oct. 17 meeting, Stolte is asking council to consider four residential units as-of-right. 

Stolte’s motion, which mentions a Canada-wide housing crisis defined by high prices, high borrowing costs and low inventory, says that allowing properties with four units aligns with Burlington’s commitment to addressing “missing middle” housing in the city. 

The “missing middle” refers to affordable and attainable housing for middle-income earners.

Creating more affordable housing for middle-income residents is part of the city’s first-ever housing strategy, which council approved in 2022. 

As of now, house prices remain elevated.  

According to the latest data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), the average house price in Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills) hit $1,245,146 last month, up 1.2 per cent from $1,230,389 in August. The average price in Burlington hit $1,049,362 in September.

In terms of specific housing types, the average price of a detached house hit $1,346,007 in Burlington last month. Semi-detached homes cost an average of $1,017,184 and townhouse prices hit an average of $1,054,982. The average condo price sat at $656,808.

The housing market is also challenging for tenants. 

According to the latest data from, Burlington is one of the most expensive cities for renters in Canada, with the average rental rate sitting at $2,217, up 5.7 per cent from last year.

The motion also points out that Burlington must meet a provincially set housing target of 29,000 units by 2031 while also respecting agricultural and heritage systems that the city does not believe to be appropriate for residential development. 

“Whereas given that the City of Burlington has limited greenfield areas it is ever more critical to acknowledge that development is more complicated and there is a pressing need to support sensitive infill and redevelopment opportunities appropriate to the City’s context,” the motion reads, adding that research undertaken through the city’s housing strategy indicates that residents feel there’s a lack of diverse housing options. 

The motion also points out that a portion of $40 million in federal funding made available to various municipalities through the government’s Housing Accelerator Fund could be inaccessible should the city not allow four units as-of-right.

In her motion, Stolte mentions that London, Vaughan and Calgary are required to offer four-plexes in order to access funding. 

“Therefore, be it resolved that Burlington City Council declare its intention to allow four units as-of-right; and that staff be directed to engage with the community to implement four units as-of-right,” the motion reads.

Stolte also requested that copies of her motion be sent to MPs and MPPs. 

The motion will come before council next week. 

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