Here are some of the stories that caught our eye this week:
No, we’re not talking about the seemingly unrelenting Toronto Island floods. This week The Globe and Mail detailed how Toronto’s saturated housing market, which is currently experiencing a flood of home listings, is leaving buyers “overwhelmed” from the choice available to them.
Buyer inertia is just one explanation being offered in light of CREA’s April data release which showed an increase in home prices and listings, but a decrease in sales in Toronto. While it’s still early to tell whether these trends are as a result of measures implemented by the provincial government earlier this year to cool the market, Finance Minister Charles Sousa expressed cautious optimism about the increase of housing supply in the city. Could Toronto make the transition to a buyer’s market soon? We’ll have to wait and see.
On Tuesday, the provincial government announced they are replacing/renaming the Ontario Municipal Board with LPAT – the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
Municipalities and local residents have been criticizing the OMB for being too heavily on the side of developers, approving projects that have been appealed and unwanted by those municipalities. I.e. taller, more profitable condos. There is concern that local government decisions are being overturned by the current board. For example, there was a recent approval of a 35-story condo that would “overshadow” a local elementary school.
This new LPAT would give more authority to municipalities to control planning. The new reforms would limit the group to rule on whether or not a project follows provincial and municipality’s plans, and will strip its power to approve its own development plans. The new system would also mean legal information and support would be given to residents who want to appeal a project or decision.
Obviously championed by municipalities and neighbourhood groups, the reform is being criticized by developers who say this will further contribute to the lack of supply, and drive real estate prices higher.
Big Banks to be questioned about sales practices
Following their investigation, the CBC is reporting that Canada’s Big Banks are headed into hearings next month with the Parliament’s finance committee to address the aggressive sales strategies brought into question recently.