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Laneway homes and the need to build more diverse housing options

Laneway homes and the need to build more diverse housing options to meet demand 

An interesting article has appeared today in the Toronto Star that discusses the need for Laneway homes and the need to build more diverse housing options to meet demand expands upon a newly released action plan from Ryerson University,


By Tamar Harris, the article brings forward a number of interesting points that stress the need for a more diverse range of housing types in this City based upon this study. .  

Titled, “The Action Plan for Improving Housing Affordability in the Greater Golden Horseshoe”, the report focused on a number of points that it feels would address the lack of housing market supply and how it’s attributed to the deterioration of housing affordability. In it, the report outlined eight key policies to make housing more affordable. The action plan was released Tuesday by Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development.

The report essentially encourages increasing the supply of a range of housing options, (including laneway suites), noting the region is made up primarily of two sub-markets; ground-related homes and high-rise apartments. It also encourages municipalities to allow secondary suites in houses and to increase the supply of affordable rental housing.

From our standpoint, https://www.flatrockinc.ca/blog/2018/02/18/how-to-get-into-torontos-rental-real-estate-market-with-a-laneway-house/, rentals of new laneway suites are expected to be brisk based upon this lack of diversity and the entry into the market of new laneway homes 

David Amborski, director of the centre, said there needs to be a “range of choice” when it comes to housing.

“There also needs to be encouragement of the ‘missing middle,’ ” Amborski said, or midrise densities such as stacked townhouses.

Read more:

‘Affordable’ housing may need to be redefined, Tory acknowledges

Report outlines ‘ambitious’ housing strategy for Ontario

Almost half of Toronto tenants paying ‘unaffordable’ rent, study finds

The shortage in supply of serviced sites that have essential infrastructure like water and sewage to support new housing “is a particular concern,” the report says.

Marlene Coffey, executive director of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association who is not associated with the action plan, said she was encouraged to see growing momentum on the subject of affordable housing across not-for-profit organisations, the private sector, academia and the government.

“We do know that in large urban centres, price points and having a wide range of housing options are what make stable, healthy communities,” Coffey said.

A wide variety of housing options accommodate “different pockets of our population,” Coffey said.

“Our communities have all kinds of diversity and so we need that flexibility in housing spectrum,” she added.

Helen Harris, co-ordinator of policy and research at the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, said there may be people renting in the private market who are ready to move into a new unit — “whether that be a more expensive rental or into condo ownership or townhouse ownership.

“But if those options are not available, then they’ll remain housed in those private rental markets that otherwise could have been vacated and made available for someone who needed that level of affordability.”

Policy recommendations contained in the action plan include:

  • Expedite the expansion of municipal water and sewer infrastructure in the 905 region;
  • Commit to providing opportunities to develop mid-density units, like stacked townhouses;
  • Conduct an in-depth review of the province’s land use planning system to improve its efficacy and minimize negative impacts.

“There’s no one solution to the issue,” said Amborski. “The housing market is very complex and there’s a number of things to address.”

End of Post

Robert Offenbacher is the President of Flatrock Inc, a multi-discipline, licensed design and construction firm located here in Toronto. Robert has been involved in Toronto’s design and construction industries for almost 25 years. Have you thought about a Laneway Home or a potential Laneway rental property? Please give him a call at 416 770 7475


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