The City of Toronto is considering a proposal to mandate that 10 per cent of all condo units be large enough to accommodate families with children.
The City argues that families don’t live in Toronto because there’s an insufficient supply of family-sized units. The industry argues that there’s not enough demand for family-sized units, particularly at the price they would have to charge.
It’s amazing how no matter what you do, it’s never good enough for some. In the last decade, BILD members have added more than 100,000 condo units within the City of Toronto. Yes, the majority of those units were sold to first-time buyers who couldn’t afford more, but people have to start somewhere, right?
If not first-time buyers, many of those 100,000 units were purchased by investors to rent, and without that additional supply, vacancy rates would be much lower and rents much higher.
The vibrancy that these new homeowners have brought to the City distinguishes us from all those American cities that are hollow cores in the evening and on the weekend.
The ideal of families living in the City is certainly valid but the reality is that more often than not, people that swore by the downtown lifestyle head for the suburbs the moment the pregnancy test shows positive.
Developers tell me that the larger units are always the last to sell, typically to down-sizers or as shared accommodation. I personally don’t think you can force a cultural shift overnight but I have no doubt that things will evolve towards the City’s goal of having more families living in the City. I just don’t think that quotas are the way to go.
What do Metro readers think? If we build it, will they come? Let me know your views by texting me at 416-948-8654 or emailing (see below).
– Stephen Dupuis is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.