Toronto and Vancouver are the two most unaffordable cities in Canada. According to the CBC, the average price of a detached home in the Greater Toronto Area is $1.2 million. Semi-detached houses are going for nearly $1 million and a condo in the city will cost you on average $550,000. If you're like most and can't afford these outrageous prices, you can rent a one bedroom for around $2,220 per month in Toronto.
With that being said, even if you don't live in either of these places, you can probably imagine how tragically unaffordable the two cities have become.
With Mississauga as a case study, the report says building in the “missing middle” — multi-unit housing with access to schools, services and work — could bridge the gap between central but small downtown condos and suburban homes with long commutes. https://t.co/kztYm7eu0R— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) October 2, 2018
Renting in Vancouver can cost you anywhere from $2,700 to $1,510 a month. If you're in the market for owning a home, you're looking in the range of $860,000 to 1.7 million, according to the Globe and Mail.
So, what's being done about these insane housing prices? Well, that depends what city you're living in.
I am a couple days late on this but I really think @JohnLorinc nails this article. This shows me that the "missing middle" can built by the private sector if we actually update the official plan in Toronto to do it. https://t.co/ISUwBwplhw #TOpoli #urbanism #missingmiddle— Jonathan Nehmetallah (@JNehmetallah) April 16, 2018
Toronto and Vancouver are dealing with something referred to as the "missing middle." The notion that the cities are overtaken by single-family homes and skyscraping condos, but nothing in between, such as townhouses or mid-rises.
Vancouver City Council recently decided to try and get a grip on their affordable housing crisis. They passed an unprecedented zoning change to allow duplexes on single-family lots in the city.
BREAKING: After two days of public hearings, Vancouver city council has voted to re-zone the majority of the city to enable duplex use in single-family home neighbourhoods. https://t.co/sRIPyMsG11 pic.twitter.com/eXmO3HCVur— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) September 20, 2018
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the GTA. In a report by the Ryerson City Building Institute using Mississauga as a case study, they found that nearly half a million people could be housed in the borough over the next 30 years if they were to embrace this missing middle.
Ryerson research manager, Graham Haines, says mid-level housing in the city would allow 174,000 homes to be built at affordable prices around transit hubs and residential neighbourhoods.
However, he says restrictive zoning bylaws make it more profitable for developers to build higher buildings with smaller units or small single-family homes.
Incumbent TO City Councillors: you better have ideas how to unlock missing middle housing. Gaining serious momentum as a ballot box issue.— Greg Gilbert (@gill_plan) March 15, 2018
Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods losing density as ‘overhousing’ spreads /via @globeandmail https://t.co/adNhe0abti
Haines thinks that Toronto should be taking Vancouver's lead. "(Vancouver) is looking at how they can put up more duplexes and other solutions to the affordability challenges there," he said to the Toronto Star. "So there are plenty of examples we can go to."
Minneapolis and San Francisco are also embracing mid-level housing to address similar issues in their cities. So come on, Toronto. You're behind the times here.
Source: CBC, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Expatistan