Affordable Housing Question

All six candidates were asked: “How will you make Housing more affordable?”  The term “affordable housing” is open to interpretation – does it mean that 100% of the population should be able to afford to buy a house or that no-one should have to pay more than (say) 30% of the income for housing or does it mean something else?  Whatever the interpretation, there’s no doubt that the resale price of housing in Cobourg is beyond the reach of many and rental rates are steadily increasing.  Is the problem “supply” or something else?  And what, if anything, should governments do about it?  It’s certainly a contentious issue and all candidates and their parties have solutions.

Note that the sequence for responses for this question is reverse last name alphabetical order.

David Piccini – PC Party

I firmly believe that everybody in Cobourg, and across Northumberland-Peterborough South, should have access to an affordable home. Over the past two years, affordability and housing have quickly become one of the most important issues for Ontarians. We need to make sure that our youth can afford to live in the community they grew up in.

David Piccini

At the end of the day, the biggest issue fueling the housing crisis is not enough homes. For this reason, the Ontario PC government has introduced legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to help build new homes in Ontario. We are fixing barriers to building new homes, while protecting health, safety, the environment, the Greenbelt, and agricultural lands.

This approach is working. Our housing supply plan helped over 100,000 new homes start construction last year, the highest in more than 30 years. We are also fighting for Ontarians who rent properties. We kept our promise to preserve rent control for existing tenants.

In order to stimulate the construction of new rental housing, our PC government announced an exemption of new units from rent control rules occupied for the first time after November 15, 2018, as well as new additions to existing buildings and new second units created after November 15, 2018.

Doug Ford and our PC government will continue to get it done by building more homes for Ontarians, making life more affordable.

Kim McArthur-Jackson – New Democratic Party

To begin making up for decades of Conservatives and Liberal governments making the housing crisis worse, NDP will take on greedy speculators, flippers and bad developers in order to cool the market.

Kim McArthur-Jackson

Not only will we restore the goal of ending chronic homelessness within 10 years, we will:

  • Introduce a speculation and vacancy tax on those who don’t pay taxes in Ontario and own houses they don’t live in.
  • Allow municipalities to shift property taxes onto properties worth more than $2 million, and off the middle class
  • Encourage construction of basement suites, laneway houses and coach houses
  • Regulate short-term rentals

In addition, the NDP is going to make the market more affordable in the following ways:

  • Help 311,000 households pay the rent with direct financial support;
  • Bring back rent control;
  • Strengthen homebuyers’ protections and help families buy a home by giving them 10 per cent of purchase price for their down payment;
  • Build 100,000 new affordable homes and extend the lifespan of 260,000 existing homes;
  • Build 60,000 supportive housing units;
  • Update zoning rules enabling the construction of more affordable “missing middle” housing, like duplexes, triplexes and townhomes;
  • Focus on best ways to restore public ownership of Ontario Hydro which will maintain reliability and improve affordability.
  • Provide young people a hand-up to home ownership, by decreasing their debt load as a result of post secondary education. We will make sure all students graduate debt-free by converting loans to grants and retroactively wiping out student loan interest.

Jeff Kawzenuk – Liberal Party

Jeff Kawzenuk

  • We will double the pace of home building this year and continue until we have built 1.5 million new homes.
  • Create an Ontario Home Building Corporation to build all types of homes.
  • We will end waitlists for both social and supportive housing.
  • Ban new non-resident ownership.
  • Tax empty homes.
  • We will put a use it or lose it levy on speculators.
  • Bring back rent control.
  • Build at least 138 000 new deeply affordable homes.
  • Work with municipal partners to end exclusionary zoning policies.

Vanessa Head – Ontario Party

Vanessa HeadAn Ontario Party government will:

  • Introduce sweeping urban-planning reform to adjust single-family zoning in Ontario’s most housing-deprived cities. In particular, property owners will be given more freedom to construct two- and four-unit residential buildings amidst neighborhoods traditionally reserved for single-family homes.
  • Secure the same right to set immigration policy as the Province of Quebec and use those powers to adjust immigration rates and settlement patterns with the ultimate outcome of reducing unsupportable housing demand in many of Ontario’s urban areas.
  • Establish an Ontario-focused foreign purchasing ban on residential homes.
  • Strike a money laundering task force charged with rooting out corruption and instituting needed regulatory changes related to real estate sales and purchases.

Lisa Francis – Green Party

Addressing the housing affordability crisis is a top priority for the Ontario Green Party. We want to build livable and affordable communities that work for everyone – without recklessly paving over greenspace and wetlands.

Lisa FrancisOntario needs strong, connected communities where people can live, work, play, and shop with access to the essential public services they need.

Our comprehensive housing plan, “Building Livable & Affordable Communities”, outlines the Ontario Greens’ strategy for making sure everyone has a safe, affordable, and accessible place to call home.

We will build affordable housing and protect our existing affordable supply by building 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes in partnership with public, private, and non-profit housing organisations.

Our First-time Homebuyer Support Plan will end blind bidding, increase incentives, and streamline the application process.

Ontario Greens’ will reinstate rent controls on all units to regulate annual rental increases, and limit rent increases between tenancies.

We will prioritise and speed up the development approval processes for projects led by, or in partnership with, non-profit housing providers, and provide low-interest loans through a new revolving fund.

Joshua Chalhoub – New Blue Party

Affordable housing has been top of mind for Canadians with rising costs of home ownership. It is now apparent that a shift in governmental policy reforms is needed to address the issue for the long-term. There are many factors that must be taken into consideration, key differences and challenges as they relate to rural versus urban.

Key issues that drive up housing and affordability can be attributed to construction costs in rural regions, control over land-use decisions such as zoning by-laws of new housing units. I would propose the province create innovative and long-term sustainable solutions. Partnering up with the federal government and municipalities to meet the demands of vulnerable populations with a primary focus in how we move to develop and deliver those solutions.

Partnerships must include developers and providing them incentives to build new housing in remote areas by providing subsidies for the purchase of land or provincial acquisition of land to ensure any such program can proceed. It is my opinion, that any such incentive to stimulate private sector investment in rural regions would not only help deal with the shortage of affordable housing, but also allow for municipality control in partnership with the province over these types of developments.

Financial investment by the federal government must be matched by the province to ensure that such housing projects can take off and affect some real change within rural communities addressing the housing affordability crisis. This can only be done through building relationship with all stake holders.


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1 year ago

Northumberland Country needs to look at different types of housing. Not just big apartment buildings and single family homes. We’re forgetting about the missing middle, single people, couples, young families, downsizers. Expand trailer home parks, Co-housing, pocket neighbourhoods, modular home builds, duplexes, four and 6 plex unit builds. A good mix of ownership, and rental options. We tend to close our doors and limit social interactions with our neighbours. These builds promote social interaction, and a sense of security.

1 year ago

It is the Joneses that are a part of the problem. They recently renovated their kitchen with stainless steel appliances, custom cabinets and granite counters. Their addition added a third (or was that fourth?) bathroom to an already large house for two people. Of course with all the permits and safety codes (smoke detectors with strobe lights in each bedroom) the costs of construction have greatly increased. I have read that you are more likely to go bankrupt when a neighbour wins the lottery. You try to keep up with their spending and … The Joneses set the standard too many other try to keep up with.

Private developers likely build to maximize profits. If the demand for large detached homes is high (it seems to be) that is what is built. If buyers or renters were satisfied with smaller homes or apartments maybe more would be built. If everybody wanted a high quality vacuum cleaner that could be repaired and would last for many years then maybe China would not be producing so many cheap vacuum cleaners that can not be repaired and do not last.

Should government control what type of housing is being built? Perhaps we need to. Instead of 50 large houses 75 smaller ones could be built. Would your quality of life be greatly reduced if your house was a little smaller and had one less bathroom? Would the benefit to 25 families not be much greater than the disadvantage to the 50 families with smaller homes?

Pete M
Reply to  Kevin
1 year ago

worked in the 50’s and 60’s-bungalow with two or three two bedrooms and one bath.

1 year ago

I am jaded as far as politicians are concerned. They spout whatever the party says to say. Anything to get elected. When they get into power they go their merry way and then develop amnesia. Vote and hope for the best.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerry
Reply to  Gerry
1 year ago

a lot like councillor’s?

1 year ago

-First of all I think we all need to understand that Subsidized housing is NOT Affordable housing
-Secondly we need to make it more affordable for Seniors to move into assisted living facilities
of Dignity than staying in their old homes most can no longer maintain But their homes are 1/2 the cost of a decent retirement community this would free up a huge number of houses every where .
-Then we need Communities like Cobourg to stay apace with services ie Sewer and water
and ensure that the base infrastructure is affordable as well as the land cost . Its not just materials driving up costs The towns are a big part . Put in services a head of development its far less costly to service a parcel of raw land than it is for a developer to have to rip up and redo finished streets and go through established subdivisions just to get services to their sites .

-Pre construction Investors that are using the Housing market as a huge investment and speculation vehicle that Developers enjoy in the way of Pre sales for financing .
Investors of this type actually get the benefit of appreciation on say a million dollar asset home
for the Tarrion Insured deposit over the construction period of say 1 to 2 yrs as far as a investor is concerned the longer the build time the better . They never appear on title and eventually assign or flip the new home contract to the end user the home buyer for a modest appreciation as in the last 3 yrs of 30 % ++ plus costs How do they track the investor only through the developer and the Lawyers on the file other wise they just assign som paper for profit .and gone .
This is what the Government has to stop and tax the profits of
So far they have all missed the boat on the real reason for rising housing costs .

Then we have the material cost issues to deal with and all the Taxes on those materials that also drive up the cost of the end product Tax on Tax on Tax .

Pete M
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 year ago

So true Sandpiper,

Look at the new development at Elgin and Brook Rd. Homes that have been released are sold out. They’ve spent the last 1 1/2 yrs grading the land. From what I can see, I don’t expect servicing happening until 2023 and first homes occupied end of 2023 or beginning of 2024. I stand to be corrected by anyone who purchased.

I suspect a large portion will be assignment sales once developer is further along

Pete M
1 year ago

Housing sales are down.

Please see attached article from Global News.

Prospective homebuyers saw clear signs of a cooling Toronto market in April as the region’s real estate board reported sales dropped by about 41 per cent since last year and 27 per cent from a month earlier.”

From the article- “What I’ve seen is a lot of properties just sitting on the market.”

I believe that with homes sitting on the market, the next we will see is prices dropping. People will start to walk away from homes where the closings are in the summer or fall,. This will be due to their inability to get the price they need on their existing home in order to move into the new one.

I believe the correction is happening; as the banks and economist are predicting, we could see a correction in order of 10% to 20%.

Not surprising when interest rates rise from 2% to 4.5%, the market cools. The Bank of Canada should have done this months ago.

Unfortunately for some, who said real estate never drops, will feel the pain when the house they bought for a million gets appraised at $800,000 in a year or two

Lemon Cake
Reply to  Pete M
1 year ago

I do think this is a problem – especially for buyers who are now getting appraisals below what they paid for the home a couple months ago. If that leaves enough of a financing gap, then the sale can’t close. But prices are really high – they’d have to drop 40% to make them affordable and that’s not happening any time soon.

Pete M
Reply to  Lemon Cake
1 year ago

(12 May 2022) Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle, speaking to economists in Montreal

He said the central bank was moving quickly to get back to the neutral range – between 2% and 3% – and reiterated it was prepared “to be as forceful as needed” to cool demand.

But higher interest rates could also pinch household budgets and cool consumer spending more than expected, he said. And the housing slowdown could be more severe than thought.
“We could see a larger-than-expected slowdown due to higher indebtedness and unsustainably high housing prices,” Gravelle said.

What the Bank of Canada does over the next 6 months and how the consumer responds will determine how far house prices will drop. The one thing for sure is interest rates will be going up.

To many people forget 1989-1991 and the hit real estate took. For some it was a 30% + hit And it was 10 yrs for prices to bounce back to 1990 levels

1 year ago

What is the hold-up on the new builds south west corner of William and University.

Reply to  What'sUpDoc
1 year ago

The Town and their Arborist for 1 and service capacity 2

Lemon Cake
Reply to  What'sUpDoc
1 year ago

Has construction stopped? It looks to me like it’s moving along – windows are in now. Has something happened?

Lemon Cake
1 year ago

Ban non-resident ownership? How is someone’s $2 million Northumberland County retreat preventing us from attracting workers and families to our area with affordable housing?
We need more rental housing plain and simple. Build more rental housing for people to move into and waitlists for shelters will come down. The more supply that is built, the less upward pressure there will be on rents. Aside from affordable housing units, this isn’t really a government solution. The private sector is already building more multi-family rental housing (institutional investors are putting a lot of money into this sector – and they aren’t buddies with Doug Ford by any measure) – it’s just going to take awhile for projects to come online – the stumbling block remains NIMBY-ism unfortunately, especially in Toronto.
The idea that this election will do anything to make homes more affordable to BUY is risible. Monetary policy (interest rates) is federal and our central bank doesn’t operate at the whim of politicians (at least it’s not supposed to – unless you live in Venezuela).

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Lemon Cake
1 year ago

It amazes me that anyone — Liberals, NDP and Green — would propose rent controls as a solution to providing more rental housing. What rational investor would build knowing that they would be denied a return on their investment?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 year ago

…and no return at all in cases where individuals just decide not to pay any rent at all any more, and get away with it for months on end, all the while availing themselves of all the shelter, utilities and maintenance costs paid for them by the investors who built the place.

Pete M
Reply to  JimT
1 year ago

The new subsidized housing model…

1 year ago

Whichever party is elected, I would like them to respond to the Auditor General’s Report of 2021 and stop using the MZO process which effectively seems to bypass local Municipal planning/decision-making.
Who among us want to see Queens Park representatives and their developers arrive in town to announce a big project that has not rec’d our input or engagement?
A link on the issue:

Reply to  Dunkirk
1 year ago

The Ford government’s heavy hand is very evident close to home.
Wesleyville and Kempville.
Is Brookside next?

1 year ago

At the end of the day, the biggest issue fueling the housing crisis is not enough homes.” – David Piccini/Doug Ford.

Close his bit by stating “We will build more homes!”

This will never happen developers are throttling the supply by not building the homes have approvals for!

300 homes in the East End approved – how many are being built now?