Is the Seven-Year Housing Fix Feasible? by Mark Tjissen

Alrighty then…3.9 million homes over the next 7 years. My math makes that just shy of 600,000 homes per year starting pretty much right now.

Are we talking homes or tents?  At a greatly improved 253,000 housing starts this past year, I see a few challenges about to arise in the very near future:

  • Labour requirements for construction are going to more than double;
  • Construction material needs are about to more than double, which will put enormous strain on supply (do I see a bargain $100 sheet of OSB in our future?);
  • Local governments had better zone tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land for housing NOW – food production capacity is going to have to absorb this hit (and Mr Weston had better keep grocery prices in check);
  • Municipalities need to hire thousands (upon thousands) of staff to issue and manage permits along with the building inspectors to ensure compliance; and
  • The banking sector may have an interesting time meeting the mortgage needs of several million additional home buyers than would normally be seen in a seven-year period.

Don’t get me wrong – I would love to see every Canadian own a home who is willing to work and save…I’m just not sure that a seven-year fix is feasible. I have my doubts that anywhere close to enough families have the down payments (or first and last) necessary to make this work by 2031.

If I were a cynic, I could view this as a ridiculous target intended to be dumped in the lap of an incoming government – the classic “cheeseburger” left rotting in a drawer of your successor’s desk.

3.9 million in seven years…wow!

by Mark Tjissen