Getting Rid of Bureaucracy

In my work as a senior partner at YStreet Capital, I am dedicated to the development of housing across nine states in the US, as well as in Canada where I reside. Given the much more acute housing crisis in Canada than in the US, I often ponder the ways we can eliminate the inhibitory influence of bureaucracy in the real estate sector and enable investments to thrive.

Canadian Housing Crisis

The housing crisis in Canada is no longer a question of mere affordability – it’s about availability. With a robust immigration pattern, Canada’s population has grown faster on a per capita basis than the US, leading to an acute housing shortage. A free market solution to this crisis would be to create incentives for an additional housing supply and allow the laws of supply and demand to dictate the rest.

Bureaucracy in Planning Systems

One of the primary obstacles creating a housing supply backlog is the bureaucracy that often cripples the planning system. Here, I relay my experiences and observations particularly from Ontario, Canada, in dealing with this issue.

Inducing More Housing Supply

The Ontario government has introduced Bill 185 to cut the red tape and build more homes. As such, there are several steps we’re taking to smooth the path for increased housing supply. We’re focusing on improving utilities issues, reforming the consultative process between municipalities and builders, and eliminating unreasonable third-party appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal by zealous NIMBY groups that have historically managed to generate delays in housing projects.

Alternative Housing Models and Lowering Costs

Moving forward, we are exploring different types of housing models and seeking to streamline approvals for student housing, modular homes, and other innovative construction methods such as mass timber. We aim to lower housing costs, particularly around public transit areas, by letting the market decide the appropriate amount of parking in these transit oriented areas.

Elimination of Zoning Barriers

Our development aims also incorporate efforts to remove zoning barriers that discourage property owners from building additional residential units. By relaxing stipulations on maximum lot coverage and the number of bedrooms permitted per unit, we aim to increase potential housing units.

Exempting Public Universities & Discounts

We are also pushing to exempt public universities from the lengthy planning application process to allow them the power to control the expansion of their campuses, including student housing. Lastly, we aim to incentivize the development of affordable housing by accelerating the implementation of exemptions and discounts from certain development charges or impact fees for affordable housing.

Our ultimate goal is to create an environment that promotes the availability of more housing supply without degrading the quality of our cities’ landscape or the living standards of our residents. As you reflect on these insights remember, you too can play a role in influencing the political process.

Let’s strive to make great things happen and stimulate progressive changes in our real estate landscape. Until next time.