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'Easier said than done': CMHC report calls on private developers to fix Canada's housing shortage


There is a perfect storm brewing that could make Greater Victoria’s housing supply crisis worse.

“There is a structural problem in the housing market in this province and especially in Greater Victoria,” said Ben Mycroft, director of development at GableCraft Homes at Royal Bay.

He says skyrocketing interest rates, a skilled and unskilled labour shortage and a lack of land to develop on is preventing more units of housing from being built, and there is another squall coming.

“We’re headed into an economic recession, so banks are less interested in lending money,” said Mycroft.

Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation is out with a new national report addressing what steps need to be taken in order to fix the housing shortage and affordability issues across the country.

In short, the report says Canada must build more units of housing, pointing toward the public sector and the private sector, saying government can’t fix the situation on its own.

“It’s definitely easier said than done,” said Mycroft, adding that a broken municipal approval process is standing in the way of building more supply, more quickly.

“You’re looking at wanting to build a new apartment building, the reality is, it’s probably going to take you five years from the idea to occupancy, if you make it there,” said Mycroft.

The province attempting to change that, first with a carrot and stick approach for municipalities doing a good job on the housing front.

“Those types of municipalities are going to see funding come in and even funding for staffing,” said Dan Reeve, an instructor of political science at Camosun College.

For those municipalities dragging their feet, the province may step in with a heavy hand.

“If you won’t change your zoning bylaws, the province will eventually need to start doing it for you,” said Reeve.

With the federal government aiming to welcome 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025, we are going to need to start building a lot more housing in this country.

“There are solutions and I think the government is really the source of those solutions,” said Mycroft.

He noted that the federal government owns a lot of land in the capital region, much of it occupied by the Department of National Defence.

“Making some of that land available for higher-density housing [would help],” said Mycroft. Top Stories

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