CHBA report offers insights into municipal processes, fees and charges impacting housing affordability

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) released its 2022 Municipal Benchmarking Study last week, examining how local development processes, approvals, and charges affect housing affordability and housing supply in major housing markets across Canada.

Edmonton finished first and all 10 Greater Toronto and Hamilton and Metro Vancouver municipalities are ranked in the bottom 10.

The study compares approaches that 21 Canadian municipalities have in three key areas that affect development of new home construction:

  • municipal planning approval processes
  • municipal charges imposed on new development
  • municipal approval timelines

The report highlights key features that help or hinder the process of bringing new housing to approval and ultimate construction, as well as the cost implications for homebuyers of municipal processes, policies and taxes.

“This report is intended to support the important conversation with all levels of government, but particularly with municipal governments, on the efficient delivery of much needed new housing supply, including the impact that inefficiencies and taxes have on housing affordability, which is already a major challenge across the country,” said CHBA CEO Kevin Lee.

“We’ve undertaken this work to showcase where municipal governments have the policies and systems in place to support supply and affordability, and to provide a path forward for improvements where things aren’t working as well.”

Rankings for each studied municipality are available in the full report. The rankings show which municipal governments are leading in the three areas – planning features, approvals timelines, and municipal charges – and gives each an overall ranking.

Key findings include:

  • Edmonton, Charlottetown, Calgary and London rank highest overall, with strong rankings in at least two of the three categories studied.
  • The study shows significant variations in the approval timelines of municipalities, ranging from 3 months (Charlottetown) to 32 months (Toronto). Compared to CHBA’s 2020 Municipal Benchmarking Study, municipalities in Ontario saw their timelines worsen, while non-Ontario municipalities saw average timelines improve.
  • The average cost of government charges levied by municipal governments on low-rise new housing development averages almost $62,000/unit. Toronto is at the high-end of that, with government charges amounting to over $189,000/unit.
  • The average cost of government charges levied by municipal governments on high-rise new housing development averages over $41,000/unit. Vancouver is at the high-end, with government charges amounting to over $125,00

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