Rights & Money

Toronto May Face a Housing Crisis

Toronto is growing… but maybe too quickly


By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/R.M. Nunes.

Toronto is the fastest-growing city in Canada and the United States, according to a recent report by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development. Though such growth might seem a good thing, there’s a chance it could create problems for Torontonians, including a housing crisis. As Toronto’s population increases, the city’s housing market isn’t keeping up.

Toronto’s population grew by 77,435 people from July 2017 to July 2018, surpassing the combined growth of the three fastest growing cities in the United States (Phoenix: 25,288; San Antonio: 20,824; and Fort Worth: 19,552). In terms of absolute numbers, Toronto was the second fastest growing metropolitan (125,298), second only to Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (131,767), while Montreal was fifth (66,116).

In the early 1990s, Toronto faced a similar situation. Though the city’s population was growing and immigration was increasing, developers cut home construction due to decreasing house prices. If Toronto continues to grow at its current pace, Torontonians may well see history repeat itself. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., housing starts in Toronto are down by 24% compared with the same period last year, while housing completions are down 22%.

”With the growth that’s taking place, and land prices rising, you’ve got to start allowing for a more diverse housing stock,” said Frank Clayton, co-author of the report. Clayton suggests opening up single-family home neighbourhoods by introducing multi-unit three- or four-story buildings.