The Bard once famously uttered “When shall we three meet again?”
The pandemic of 2020/21 has unwittingly accelerated the alignment of these three preeminent social components. What follows is the how and the why?
Presently general housing prices in the G.T.A have increased by over 40% in the last 12 months. Factually, stand alone housing prices in rural Ontario have on average increased more in the last year than in the last 30 years combined.
This is a consequence of historically low interest rates, unprecedented levels of central bank quantitative easing and most importantly the mightiest of all catalysts, the COVID-19 virus. It has scattered millions to the inner suburbs and beyond.
Keep in mind that nearly 65% of Toronto is still zoned for single family homes. This is approximately the same ratio that can be applied to much of the G.T.A. Subsequently, when the lockdowns started millions of prospective buyers suddenly discovered the true meaning of “No Room at the Inn!”
Already elevated prices started to gallop forward in May 2020. The veracious question on everyone’s mind remains how much higher can prices climb?
More importantly, policy makers and others are now acknowledging that immediate and tangible civic steps must be taken to slow down this wafting housing spiral. Due to government debt and deficits interest rates appear to be locked into a narrow low median borrowing range for the next 2 years. What can be done to increase our affordable housing supply?
What is desperately needed is a politician with the temerity and foresight to double or triple the density zoning of certain pockets of our inner suburbs. Simultaneously creating “exclusive bi-pedal corridors” thru these pockets with destination hub transport centers. Spots where either buses, street cars, subways and trains allow their clients easy bike access. Combing viable transport with mixed affordable housing options will encourage families, singles and seniors to become long time residents of these integrated neighborhoods. Villages within a town within a city.
Country villages and towns could easily become more self supporting if they embraced the advantages offered by encouraging modest increases in density. Combined with the ubiquitous e-bike this would facilitate a broader based mixed development.
Demographically greater use of our Go Bus and Go Train system is undeniable. The quick and efficient interconnectivity afforded by e-bikes is already a daily reality in much of western and central Europe. There is absolutely no plausible reason to imagine it will not happen here. Why are we not already embracing today’s reality? The world is in obvious flux, there is talk of inhabiting Mars but a GO Bus shelter along our interregional roads remains an anathema.
Rest assured that this hideous virus will be defeated soon. After a spell things will slowly return to normal and our lives will go on. When we reach this inflection point which side of history will you be sitting on?
If you have housing questions, call anyone of our offices and we are happy tot help.