According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, as of January 2022, average sold home prices increased 28.4 percent year-over-year to $1,242,793, with pricing records being set and broken on an almost-weekly basis.

Despite this, developers have faced challenges in their attempts to respond to such overwhelming demand. Building costs have remained high, as has the regulatory burden. However, bright spots do exist.

Members can view a recording of this discussion on ULI’s Knowledge Finder.

Perhaps the most stand-out opportunity for housing development in Toronto is Housing Now, an initiative launched by the City Council to activate city-owned sites for the development of affordable housing within mixed-income, mixed-use, and transit-oriented communities. With the project’s three announced phases set to deliver more than 14,000 new housing units, the initiative is a key component of the city of Toronto’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan.

Since its launch in January 2019, Housing Now has provided developers with resources and support to create additional housing in Toronto. Early on, hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and development charges were waived and 11 publicly owned real estate parcels were provided for development, eight of which were rezoned within six months. Developers have also been able to bid for projects through a streamlined process overseen by CreateTO, a single agency tasked with strategically developing city real estate holdings.

The result? Twenty one additional sites—encompassing more than 10,000 units—are currently under development. As Deputy Major and City Councillor Ana Bailão noted on a recent panel discussion hosted by ULI Toronto: “As a municipality, we are very close to the people, and we see the impact and how much worse the housing situation was getting in our city. That’s why we knew we needed to use all of the tools available to us to take action on housing.”

Hear more about housing innovations at the 2022 ULI Housing Opportunity Conference.

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