Real estate board warns of wider impact of housing policies

Housing policies don’t just have an impact on the housing market, they also affect the wider economy.

That is a key message from the Toronto Real Estate Board which this week held the first of two Regional Economic Summits, in Durham. The second is in York next month.

With data from the Altus Group showing that every real estate transaction adds $68,275 in spin-off expenditure, TREB says that any measure that slows activity in the housing market means less economic activity.

“The importance of the housing sector to the regional economies of the GTA is clear. All levels of government must be mindful of the potential impact of housing policies on the market, from the perspective of economic growth, jobs and government revenues,” said TREB President Tim Syrianos.

With a provincial election ahead, TREB is encouraging all candidates to make their housing policy direction clear so that it may be debated.

“It will be especially important to hear policy directions related to the supply of housing in the GTA – an issue which has yet to be addressed with any concrete policy moves from any level of government,” added Syrianos.

TREB’s updated outlook reveals that the psychological impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and the OSFI mortgage stress tests have made a dent in demand for homes in the GTA.

“The fundamentals underlying the demand for ownership housing will remain sound in 2018. Population growth will continue to be driven by immigration and job growth and will be sustained across a diversity of economic sectors. However, we must be cognizant of the fact that, in the short term, higher borrowing costs and the effects of federal and provincial policy decisions will act as a drag on demand for ownership housing, particularly in the first half of 2018,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels.

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