Rental Housing Supply Falling to Critical Levels in Halton and Beyond
With the new wave of rules and regulations on rental housing across the province, and the cost of living at a high, it's no surprise that renters and the housing market alike are facing some unique challenges. Now, a new study has uncovered that we are indeed running out of rental housing.
The rental housing situation in Ontario is dire, according to a new study by Urbanation, which reveals that unless the rental housing supply is addressed across the province, vacancy rates will continue to decrease and limit renter choice.
According to Urbanation, rental housing supply will continue to diminish and vacancy rates will drop further unless at least 6,250 additional new rental units are built each year for the next decade, in addition to the expected level of new development.
That being said, vacancy rates province-wide have fallen to critical levels - just 2.1 per cent of units are vacant across the province, though demand is increasing, according to the CMHC 2016 Rental Market Survey.
In Toronto alone, vacancy is at just 1.3 per cent.
Prior to the Rental Fairness Act 2017's introduction, which imposed a few new rules over rental units in Ontario - including rent control on all units in Halton and beyond - proposed rental projects were at a 25 year high with 28,000 units in the planning pipeline.
Now, at least 1,000 planned rental units have already been cancelled or converted to condos - we are indeed in a rental supply crisis, according to Urbanation's report.
"Demographic trends in Ontario are leading to ever increasing demand for rental housing. Millennials, new immigrants, and aging boomers are all increasingly likely to rent, particularly given the high cost of home ownership," said the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) in a release.
It's clear that renters need more housing choices, and so, FRPO has launched a campaign called "Rent On" which aims to address declining supply and vacancy rates across the province by introducing amendments to the Rental Fairness Act 2017.
“Ontario’s scarce rental housing supply combined with escalating house and condo prices have created a housing crisis in our biggest cities,” said Jim Murphy, president of FRPO. “The only solution is for Ontario to build itself out of this situation. This begins with our provincial leaders working with industry to identify and implement policies that create more purpose-built rental units, not less.”
Further, Urbanation notes that “projections indicate a substantial imbalance between rental demand and supply in the Ontario marketplace over the next decade, which could reach potentially crisis levels in the absence of a meaningful increase in new purpose-built [rental] development.”
So, according to FRPO, the next step to avert crisis is government action.
“This study truly underscores the urgency of Ontario’s current rental housing supply situation,” added Murphy. “If our government leaders fail to act now to address this crisis in a meaningful and sustainable way, the results will serve to further impact Ontario’s economy, such as through additional strain on our cities’ transit infrastructure as people are forced to commute further and further to find more affordable housing options.”
It's true that affordable housing is few and far between in Ontario, and it remains to be seen how the province will respond to the demand for more rental housing in Halton and beyond.