Transit spending might help relieve GTA affordability pressures - observer

While federal and provincial authorities are currently focused on addressing either housing supply or demand issues to improve housing affordability in the Greater Toronto Area, a markets observer argued that a more effective intervention would be for governments to spend higher amounts in the region’s transit options.

Fortress Real Developments senior vice president of market research and analytics Ben Myers noted that cheaper transport costs stemming from an improved transit network will make lower-priced homes in the GTA’s peripheries (and other out-of-the-way locales) more viable choices for would-be buyers—thus alleviating overcrowding pressures in the inner-city area.

“I’ve always pointed to additional transit spending,” Myers said in an interview with BuzzTV last month. “There’s a lot of areas now that wouldn’t be viewed as the neighbourhood that people want to live in and part of that is…[these areas] just can’t get access to good jobs.”

“If we could add additional subway lines, if we could add more transit, if we could do more service on the GO lines and quicker access to move people throughout the Greater Toronto Area — I think that’s one of the key things, to allow people from different markets to move around and access those jobs,” Myers added.

“People want access to good jobs. So the easiest way to do that is just to move people quickly.”

Dismal predictions from the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Building Industry and Land Development Association indicated a difficult year ahead for first-time buyers in the city, amid growing purchase costs and ever-declining supply.

In mid-February, TREB forecast that the average price of a home in the GTA will see double-digit percentage growth in 2017, up to an average of $825,000. BILD figures also noted that only 13,670 new homes were for sale in the GTA as of December, compared to 30,400 a decade ago.

Related stories:
Observers’ takes on Toronto’s red-hot housing sector
Condo units in downtown Toronto seeing intensified demand


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