Toronto Mayor John Tory wants to free up unused public land for housing developments in a bid to get more supply into the tight market. In an interview on BNN, Tory said the municipal government could expedite the approval process for such projects, but only if other levels of government are willing to sell land to developers.
“If the other governments wanted to do something that would be really helpful at this stage of the game, it would be to answer the call we have made for them to do what we’re doing, which is to put up public land that otherwise isn’t needed for any other purpose and put it into the affordable housing pool,” he said.
Tory said making the housing market more affordable isn’t as simple as pulling one lever, like following Vancouver’s lead and slapping additional taxes on foreign nationals.
“I think sometime in politics and elsewhere, people try to simplify things and say, well it’s all about putting a tax on so speculators from some other country won’t buy, when in fact it’s a much more complicated issue because it’s a marketplace,” he said.
Tory also said there’s no immediate solution for the rising cost of homes in the city, due to the dynamics of supply and demand.
“There are people still coming, our population is growing. There is a constraint on the supply of land for new housing, and so that’s an issue,” he said. “You don’t want to identify [addressing] any one of these as a silver bullet, because I’m not sure there is one. ”