Wow, the number of stories that have been generated by one Stats Canada report and the low supply of single family homes in the GTA.
Story 1- http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/torontos-low-rise-home-demand-not-matched-by-supply-report/article34801918/
Story 2 - http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/national/grandpa+loves+detached+house+canada+growing+number+suburban/13342135/story.html
Story 3 - http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/seniors-canadian-census-aging-home-care-1.4097293
The comments sections on these stories are interesting reading. I commented on the Globe and Mail Article with "I have a huge problem with blaming this on Ontario's 2006 Growth Plan. Approx 1 million of the population of the GTA are over 65 years old. Of this group approx 60% are living in a single family home (low rise homes in this report). Based on household size in this age bracket, there are over 350 thous low rise homes with people over 65 years old being the primary occupants. If just 5% of move out into multifamily dwelling & apartments each year, this puts 17 thous homes on the market in the GTA, more than enough to bring levels to 2006. Problem is demographics & lifestyle not urban planning."
It was interesting that the Statistics Canada story about the dramatic increase in the over 65s population came out shortly after generating the next 2 stories. I commented on the Ottawa Citizen story with "it's not a matter of "forcing people out", but it's also not a matter of simply throwing money for infrastructure and services at the same baby boomers that have had a good ride at the expense of the next generations. We need to think smart, understand why the elderly are staying put even through it leads to poor social and health outcomes when they get to 80. Then we need to zone and design small multifamily intergenerational homes in the same neighbourhoods that they currently live in. Its not about forcing them out, its about attracting them out. Condo towers, large apartment building and seniors residences will never do."
The CBC story has now generated over 800 comments at the time of publishing this blog. It has been an interesting read of all the comments on the stories. Some people took offense that I suggested the baby boomers have had a pretty good ride throughout their lives. If we look at our aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced and the state of the environment, I'm not very sure we have been good stewards. Intriguingly, we have the resources and the ability to fix it. Our lifestyle choices can go a long way to manage the housing crisis. I didn't want to live in an apartment building so I built a triplex where I rent out 2 units. I have the knowledge and the means, most people don't. We need to demand that our municipalities rezone properties close to the inner city suburbs to allow 2 and 3 storey multi family units. We need to pressure or encourage developers to build these buildings (maybe a development fee and cash in lieu of parkland holiday would do it).This way we can stay in familiar neighbourhoods with our friends. (PS. this actually leads to better social and health outcomes for us as we age.) We need to ask ourselves, do we want to be part of the solution or just the problem.