Montreal has come up with a solution for affordable housing, and is ready to be the first city in North America to implement it.
This month, Montreal is considering a proposed bylaw that will make it mandatory for condo developers to build a specified number of off-market units every time they construct a new residential building, the Canadian Press reports.
“It was fundamental for us to be pioneers,” said Robert Beaudry, city councillor for economic development and housing. “We will deliver and I am convinced it will inspire other big cities across the country.”
Not many details about the new policy have been released thus far due to ongoing negotiations. However, Mayor Valerie Plante has always been adamant about increasing housing affordability and even made a campaign promise known as “20-20-20.”
Essentially, the promise was to ensure all new residential buildings included 20 per cent social units (subsidized partially or fully by the government), 20 per cent affordable units, and 20 per cent family units (condos with three or more bedrooms).
It’s unknown how many units a residential tower must have in order for the new policy to apply, Beaudry told CP.
Montreal had the most economic growth in Canada in 2018, which contributed to its increase in house prices, according to Royal LePage. The real estate company released a price survey in January and reported that the aggregate home price in Montreal last year was $407,230, up 4.1 per cent from 2017.
With prices climbing steadily, it’s certainly beneficial for Montreal to implement their new development policy. However, developers are concerned that it will make their new buildings unprofitable.
When it comes to affordability, Montreal is still doing better than Toronto and Vancouver, according to RBC research. In Montreal, 44.5 per cent of average household income is spent on housing costs, while in Toronto and Vancouver, it’s 66.1 and 84.7 per cent, respectively.