Associations representing Ontario’s realtors and home builders are calling on the provincial government to change zoning rules around transit stations, which they said could address a housing supply crunch.

They said that permitting different uses of the space around and above the province’s 200 transit hubs and lifting a regulatory burden that limits so-called “transit-oriented development” would create thousands of new homes per year.

Planning powers over these hubs currently rest with local municipalities, which sometimes prevent multi-storey or townhouse developments, said Tim Hudak, Ontario Real Estate Association president.

A study completed by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development found that by rezoning the corridors, more than 20,000 affordable homes could be created in the province every year.

The study found that based on the province’s own population growth projections, Ontario will need 1.8 million more new homes over the next 24 years, equivalent to 75,000 new homes per year.

The study also revealed that more than 1,500 sq km of viable land exists around the province’s transit hubs, but only 154 sq km of it has been rezoned to support higher density projects.

Hudak said that municipalities have failed to develop these hubs and the province must step in.

"It doesn't make any sense to put billions of taxpayers' dollars under the ground and then have only one- or two-storey developments above them," Hudak told The Canadian Press.

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