New Homes and Red Tape in Ontario: Residential Land-Use Regulation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe

As an increasing number of people move to major Canadian cities, housing prices have continued to rise in its most desirable markets. With growing concern about housing availability and prices, understanding how public policy affects the supply of new homes is critical. The Fraser Institute’s survey of housing developers and homebuilders provides new insight into this issue. This report is part of a series tallying survey data to represent industry professionals’ experiences and opinions of how residential development is regulated in cities across Canada. This report presents survey results for cities in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).

Estimates of typical project approval timelines in GGH cities range from 14.4 months in Burlington and 15.1 months in Barrie, to 22.3 months in Clarington and 24.3 months in Georgina. Toronto’s estimated timeline is shorter than the regional average, at 17.7 months. Timeline uncertainty’s deterrent to homebuilding is strongest in Barrie.

Reported compliance costs and fees add up to a low of $21,000 per home built in Hamilton and a high of $60,500 per home in Oakville. Reported compliance costs in Toronto average $46,570 per unit.

The survey reports that zoning classifications need to be changed to accommodate more than 50% percent of new residential development in 28 out of 32 cities. Estimates of rezoning’s effect on approval timelines range from under one additional month in King Township to 11.25 months in Hamilton.

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