A new report from a housing watchdog has found that a new building is a key factor in determining how long the properties remain in the neighbourhood.
The report, by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Community Planning (OISEPC), found that new developments often trigger “negative equity” in an area, meaning the average amount of rent paid by renters is more than the average income of those renting the same property.
This is especially true for older neighbourhoods where new developments may not provide the same kind of affordable living conditions as the areas they replaced.
“In many communities, older neighbourhoods are no longer able to sustain a robust housing stock and the result is that residents often face the prospect of losing their homes,” OISEPC Director of Research Andrew Dessler said in a release.
“Many are forced to sell their homes, and the impact on the affordability of their neighbourhoods is often a result of negative equity.”
The report was commissioned by the Housing Alliance of Ontario, an organization that works to promote community housing.
The new report examined the impact of building developments in more than 600 communities across Ontario between 2000 and 2015, finding that while a new home might be a positive thing, a new development will also have a negative impact on a neighbourhood’s character.
“A new development is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can have a very negative impact,” said the report’s author, Jane Krakauer.
“New development has a huge negative impact.
This study shows that over time, negative equity and negative income impact is often the result.”
For example, the new building in the Vaughan suburb of Bloor-Yonge West, which is expected to generate more than $1.6 billion in new construction revenue in the next decade, is expected in a few years to add to the “negative value” of the property.
The study found that “negative income” impacts on a community’s quality of life have increased in Toronto’s outer boroughs, such as Kensington, Bathurst and Sheppard West.
“For example,” the report says, “there was a dramatic increase in the negative equity of neighbourhoods that were not adjacent to development projects, such that property owners often lost out on their property tax revenue as a result.”
Krakauer said the study also found that the amount of housing that has been built in Toronto over the past few decades “was not linked to the number of residents living in it.”
“If you look at the history of the city, we don’t know exactly what happened,” she said.
“We do know that the city built a lot of housing over the years, but that was not necessarily the reason why there was a high rate of housing affordability.”
Kirkland resident Lisa Hinton said she’s frustrated with the lack of information available about the effects of development on neighbourhoods.
“I’m not going to be a part of the conversation on how many new houses are going to come to my neighbourhood,” she told CBC News.
“It’s the building that’s going to create the problems.”
Kakau’s research has been supported by a grant from the Ontario government.