For Immediate Release
February 15, 2001
Commissioner of Housing and Property, General Manager of Peel Living
Region of Peel
905-453-1300, Ext. 2518
LOW VACANCY RATES A CONCERN IN PEEL
(Brampton) - Regional Council endorsed a report today from the Housing and Property Department urging all levels of government to work together to help municipalities and the private sector build affordable rental housing.
Low vacancy rates, significant rent increases and rising house prices were among the trends noted in a report released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). These trends contribute to the increasing numbers of people seeking affordable housing and to homelessness both in Peel and in what is being defined as the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area.
"The tightening of the rental market in Peel and Toronto CMA concerns us," said Keith Ward, Commissioner of Housing and Property for the Region of Peel, and General Manager of Peel Living, the Region's non-profit housing corporation. "We need governments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels to work together, because without new affordable housing stock, we will see worsening impacts on residents most vulnerable to housing market conditions."
CMHC figures indicate Peel's vacancy rate to be at its lowest level since October 1988. A vacancy rate of 1 per cent means that for every 1,000 private apartment units, 10 units were vacant and available for immediate rent.
Rates in Peel decreased from .8 per cent in 1999 to .6 per cent in 2000. The City of Mississauga dropped to .5 per cent in 2000 from .8 per cent in 1999. The City of Brampton remained unchanged at .7 per cent between 1999 and 2000.
Trends in the vacancy rate for the Town of Caledon are difficult to assess because of the small number of surveyed rental units present, according to the CMHC report.
"Individuals most vulnerable to the housing market conditions include low-income lone-parents, low-income singles, seniors, those with psychiatric or physical disabilities, and those who are employed yet rely on shelters as an alternative to affordable housing," Ward said.
Other factors contributing to the declining affordable housing stock are:
- The 1997 economic boom created jobs and, with them, an increased housing demand in the Toronto CMA, including an increased demand for affordable housing.
- Tighter rent controls introduced in the Residential Rental Control Act in 1992 provided more discouragement for the private sector to build rental housing.
- The Tenant Protection Act of 1998 removed a provisional "moratorium" on converting rental buildings to other uses including condominiums, leading to the loss of rental units; the Act also introduced "vacancy de-control," giving landlords the ability to raise rents with no limitation upon vacancy.
- Rising housing prices reduced the affordability of homeownership during the late 1990s, prompting fewer moves and putting additional pressure on rental vacancies.
- Low rental housing production resulted from discontinued assisted housing programs; only 1,000 annual rental units were started in the late 1990s in all of Ontario - a decrease from an annual average of 3,300 rental housing starts during the first half of the 1990s.
"The tightening rental market means fewer choices for tenants and difficult times for those in need of affordable housing," said Ward. "We expect to see the rental housing shortage only getting worse without government-funded initiatives for new housing developments."
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- 30 -Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail
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