toronto housing

Toronto needs more housing as population grows faster than expected

Toronto greatly underestimated population growth for the last five years and cannot keep up with housing needs according to a new report.

People are fleeing Toronto for cheaper real estate, says a report from Smart Prosperity Institute, a University of Ottawa think tank, and the population has been growing much faster than predicted in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The report, Forecast for Failure, found that in five years, Ontario's population of adults grew by several hundred thousand more than forecasted and all these people need to find a home.

Not enough new housing — condos or single-family homes — are being built to keep up with demand.

"This imbalance between housing demand and supply contributed to high housing prices and the migration of young families out of the GTAH to other parts of the province that occurred well before the pandemic," the report states.

Past forecasts underestimated the area's population growth from international sources by roughly 120,000 people from 2016-21 while overestimating the size of the housing stock by approximately 26,000 units, contributing to a demand for housing.

"Housing shortages occurred in the GTAH (Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton), partly because populations grew faster than forecast and partly because housing completions in municipalities did not hit the (already too low) minimums set out in the Growth Plan," the report states.

With people, millennials in particular, unable to find housing in the city, they tend to look elsewhere, which will impact Toronto’s future.

"This lack of housing also acts as a drag on the economy of the GTAH, as workers are priced out of working in the region since they cannot afford to live there and are forced to work lower-wage, lower-productivity jobs in other parts of the country."

In the next five years, the population is expected to grow anywhere between 600,000 and 700,000 in the GTAH.

Forecast for Failure suggests planners consider a range of potential scenarios rather than assuming current forecasts will necessarily prove accurate.

They note "slowing population growth is not the solution to the region's housing shortages."

The report suggests one million new homes need to be built in the next ten years across Ontario to keep up with demand.

"These trends will continue unless more housing is built across Ontario."

Lead photo by

Karen Longwell

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