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Housing Market Triggers Record Construction and Need for More Development 

We’ve heard the call loud and clear; Canada needs more housing. With the demand for housing outweighing the supply, there’s a need for massive amounts of real estate development. To accommodate our ever-growing population, Finance Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) estimate that at least 3.5 million new homes will need to be built by 2031. This brings along with it an inherent need for a variety of housing solutions including: a streamlined development process to allow projects to get to market quicker; intensification and possibility of urban expansion in cities and towns; rezoning to permit more dense build-forms; developing new multi-residential properties; and improving existing buildings to increase their functionality and appeal. 

WHAT IS REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT? 

Real estate development is different from construction or housebuilding. It encompasses several activities ranging from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to improve their use to the purchase of raw land and the sale of developed land or parcels to others. Developers, like Equiton, buy land, finance real estate deals, build projects, develop projects in joint ventures, create, imagine, control, and orchestrate the process of development from beginning to end. Essentially, real estate development takes a piece of land or an existing building and develops it into something new, something better. Whether building a new structure on raw (undeveloped) land or renovating an existing building, there is a lot that goes into a development outside of planning for the building itself.  

DEVELOPMENTS PLANNED FOR THE BETTERMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND ECONOMIC GROWTH 

With the incredible demand for new housing solutions, the focus needs to be on planning developments that make a positive impact on their communities and improve the quality of life for their current and future residents. “We can have people live closer to where they work. We can reduce commutes. We can reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas footprint,” said Mike Moffatt, a senior director at the Smart Prosperity Institute who tracks demographics and housing trends, in an interview with CBC News.  

The creation of 15-minute neighbourhoods clusters a “diverse mix of land-uses; this includes a range of housing types, shops, services, local access to food, schools and day care facilities, employment, green spaces, parks and pathways” so everything people need is within 15 minutes of where they live. Projects like Equiton’s Riverain District in Ottawa, demonstrate how, with the proper planning, seamless integration of upscale rental units with ground level commercial space and proximity to the downtown core contributing to a more “complete community” is possible.  

DEVELOPMENT IS NEEDED COUNTRY-WIDE  

With the extraordinary demand for housing, the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, acknowledged that, “we are certainly aware of the need to dramatically increase supply,” which lead to the creation of the Housing Accelerator Fund. In a Financial Post article penned by Murtaza Haider, a professor of Real Estate Management at Ryerson University, and Stephen Moranis, a real estate industry veteran, the government’s $4 billion fund is explored, explaining that “the government intends to transfer these funds to municipalities willing to increase housing supplies by reducing development approval times, allowing higher density in built-up areas, and building more dwellings near public transit infrastructure.” With a streamlined process for new developments, the focus must now fall on infrastructure. 

INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS TO GROW WITH THE DEVELOPMENTS  

Like many areas in Canada, Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is forecasted to show substantial growth in the coming years at a projected rate of 1,000,000 people every five years. “We can accommodate that demand by building upwards, outwards, or both” remarks Steve Lafleur, Senior Policy Analyst at the Fraser Institute. Along with new developments, we need the infrastructure to support them. Ontario Premiere Doug Ford stated that “we need to build more roads and highways to keep up with population growth” which coincides with a larger initiative, A Place to Grow: Growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, wherein a long-term plan was outlined for the region “designed to promote economic growth, increase housing supply, create jobs and build communities that make life easier, healthier and more affordable for people of all ages.” 

A RISE IN DEMAND FOR MULTI-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES 

Trends in real estate development reveal that multi-residential properties are an essential part of the overall solution. According to CMHC’s recent Housing Supply Report, “Apartments (includes units for rent or for ownership) dominate construction in large urban centres, such as Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.” A variety of housing options are required to fulfil our current and future housing needs with multi-residential properties playing a key role.  

Compared to the previous year, in 2021 Toronto led in the construction of multi-residential apartment buildings with hundreds of units, but cities like Calgary aren’t far behind, showing the strongest expansion with a 91% increase in new apartment developments. This resulted in a record number of housing units either under construction or in planning in metropolitan areas across the country. As cities revise their urban density targets, the creation of properly planned new developments including multi-residential properties as well as improvements to existing buildings is crucial to accommodate the increase in population. 

DEVELOPING A SOLUTION 

To stabilize the current housing market there is greater need for development and construction than ever before. Developing housing properties that fulfil the needs of their residents and communities along with the proper infrastructure is vital, especially developments that consider the big picture and plan not only for the current needs, but for the needs of the future, like those included in Equiton’s Funds.  

Through Equiton’s extensive due diligence and research processes, we ensure that our development projects benefit their tenants, their communities and offer attractive returns on investment (ROIs) for our investors while providing much-needed housing. The solution to the housing market problem is within our grasp; properly planned developments of multi-residential properties will get us one step closer to a viable, functional solution. 

Learn more about Equiton’s current developments and Funds by emailing inquiries@equiton.com.