This piece appeared in Collections magazine, Summer 2017 issue.
Like Dutch tulip-mania in the 1630s, and dot-corns in the late 1990s, GTA housing has become the defining economic story of this decade. And, seemingly, no one is immune. Domestic and foreign investors, young people starting out, house-wealthy baby boomers trying to help their millennial offspring, all have felt the urgency to dive into the market before prices get even higher.
This FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect is also a key contributor to rising debt levels among Canadians. In fact, in 2016, the Financial Post reported that the level of household debt held by Canadians had exceeded the country’s gross domestic product for the first time in history. So, in response to rising inflation and rapidly escalating activity, this April, the Province of Ontario acted to cool down the sizzling real estate market. The Fair Housing Plan has prescribed 16 measures intended to reduce demand, stabilize housing prices, and facilitate more supply. But can this plan maintain the value of people’s homes while making them affordable to an increasingly priced-out generation? Is it even possible for the province to implement rules that are fair to both those who own housing and those who want to own?