Ontario Construction News staff writer
Last Wednesday’s housing summit with Premier Doug Ford was a step in the right direction for all of Ontario, says the mayor of Guelph.
Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark invited big city mayors and regional chairs to the Summit to discuss the crisis and coordinate efforts to increase supply.
“I am aligned with the province’s approach that it’s important to get all parties talking and sharing solutions – but it’s even more important to take action for the families who need housing they can afford,” Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie said following the summit. “Today, we had a collaborative and respectful discussion, and I believe the Premier and the Minister genuinely heard what mayors had to say and are prepared to act.”
The province has announced a new $45 million Streamline Development Approval Fund for Ontario’s 39 largest municipalities.
The average price of homes sold in Guelph in December was over $1 million according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, 28.8 per cent higher than 2020, according to data from the Guelph & District Association of Realtors. Guelph’s rental market is also escalating, with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data showing average rents increasing more than 8 per cent from 2019 to 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a global decline in construction activity that affected Guelph, but 2021 housing starts show a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels.
City of Guelph data indicates that only 67 per cent of housing units approved between 2008 and 2020 have been built.
“As we work on increasing supply, we also need to figure out why there’s a gap between housing units that are approved and what’s actually built,” says Mayor Guthrie. “After today’s Summit, I am hopeful that important changes are coming to make sure families in Guelph and across Ontario have the housing options they need.”