Ottawa’s housing supply is on track to meet 10-year goal, study finds

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

A new study commissioned by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) has revealed that the city of Ottawa is not only well on its way to meet its goal of 151,000 new homes over the next decade, but construction activity is moving at a faster pace than previously believed.

According to the report titled Use It: Optimizing Municipal Development Pipelines, the supply of residential housing in Ottawa is moving through the planning process at a reasonable pace and there is no evidence of land being held back. In fact, the report revealed that of the 77,404 housing units potential in the city between 2018 and 2022, only 64,786 units remained in the inventory, a drop of 13,000 units over that period.

The report also found that 82% of the units that are not yet built are apartment developments, indicating that an enhanced use-it-or-lose-it (UIOLI) policy may disproportionately affect the approvals, permissions, or servicing allocation for these types of developments. The report authors suggest that the city should focus on implementing measures that will increase supply and affordability, rather than worrying about land preservation.

“It’s not in the industry’s interest to sit on land that’s ready for housing,” Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association (GOHBA) executive director Jason Burggraaf said in a statement. “In fact, we need to do everything we can to avoid delays in the approvals process, which increase costs and impacts housing affordability for Ottawa’s residents.”

The report concludes that enhanced UIOLI measures are not necessary, but they are only likely to have a limited impact on the overall supply of housing in Ottawa. The authors suggest that the focus should be on increasing supply and affordability by removing unnecessary barriers to development and improving the efficiency of the planning process.

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