Canadians disapprove of governments’ management of housing, survey says 

May 9, 2024 | Canadian News, News

At 22 years old, Humber College student Kalen Crawf lives with his parents in Mississauga because he can’t afford to live on his own.

“If you live with your parents at least it’s easy to save money,” Crawf said. “Governments are not doing enough overall, they should reduce mortgage rates.”

He said he’s planning to move out in two years but if he does it, he just will be able to pay rent.

When Romano Michael, a 55-year-old construction worker, was 26 when he bought his first house in Toronto.

“I paid $220,000 in 1996 for my house, but now it would be closer or over one million,” said Michael, who has direct knowledge of the problem with housing affordability as a long-term construction worker.

“Now it’s unaffordable to buy a house at 26 years old, you have to be more planned out and you might need assistance from family members. Governments, parties, no matter which ones, all of them have failed,” he said.

Crawf and Michael feel like many other Canadians do.

One in two Canadians disapprove of how the federal and provincial governments manage the supply of affordable housing, a survey by Environics Institute published on April 24 says.

Ontario shows the same trend as the country overall, as 50 per cent of somewhat or strongly disapprove of the management of the federal government and 51 per cent disapprove of the provincial government’s policies.

The percentage drops to 43 per cent in Ontario in terms of the support of municipal policies for housing.

This percentage is ranked the second one among the three largest provinces behind British Columba, with 48 per cent, and in front of Quebec, with 39 per cent of people not approving the municipal management.

Although disapproval of federal and provincial management decreases among voters of governing political parties in all levels of government across the country, it still outweighs approval, the survey reports.

The online and telephone survey of 6,036 Canadians between Jan. 13 and April 13 found disapproval increases with age. The youngest age group, from 18 to 24 years old, has the lowest level of disapproval with 38 per cent.

Vaivhav Joshi, a 24-year-old telecommunications engineer, said governments in Canada are learning from the past despite his struggles to find a house.

“I’ve been living in four different houses in the last year and a half. One of them was very dirty and there was water dripping in the kitchen,” he said.

“Parties come and go, countries keep functioning and Canada is functioning really well as a country. Governments are just learning from mistakes in the past,” Joshi said.

The disapproval reaches 58 per cent in the 55 and older age group which represents the age group with the highest disapproval index.

Glory Brown, at 55 years old, lives with her 15-year-old daughter in a rental house in Toronto.

She said she can’t afford to buy a house.

“I’d like to own my own house, of course,” she said. “But it’s very expensive and governments are not doing anything to change it. You have to move out of the city to buy a new one, but then you don’t have job opportunities.”

A Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) report published on April 2 indicated that Canadian housing affordability has never been worse.

The report says a median household would need to spend 63 per cent of its income to carry a mortgage. Toronto was the second worst market with 84.8 per cent of income required, while Vancouver was in first place with 106.3 per cent.

According to Listing Canada, the average cost in Toronto to buy a house has jumped to $1.2 million in 2023 from $193,000 in 2000.

Toronto has set a target to build 40,000 new affordable rental homes and 4,000 new affordable ownership homes by 2030.

Michael said politicians can’t vow to build homes and make them available short term.

“Nobody is properly forecasting the construction of housing. It’s going to take a long time,” he said.

“You have to secure the land and do an environment assessment before building,” Michael said. “But you don’t get people excited if you say it will take 10 years. They are building condos, but they won’t make housing more affordable overnight.”