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City Hall Snapshot – Prof. Moffatt on housing crisis

Housing prices in Canada continue to rise and Barrie is no exception. According to the Barrie and District Association of Realtors (BDAR), the average price of a home in Simcoe County last month was 770,000 dollars. 

It is 30 percent higher than prices in July last year. And the interesting part is that there was a year-over-year decline in the number of units sold. So the prices are going up even though the number of houses sold went down. But that could be because of the reduced inventory or people unable to afford a house. When the pandemic started, everyone was expecting prices to go down and even crash. Instead prices went through the roof. 

So how did we get here, what is to expect in the near future and is there a way out of this crisis. 

Professor Mike Moffatt in his presentation tried to address these questions. Moffatt is the Senior Director of Policy at the smart prosperity Institute and assistant professor at the ivy Business School at Western University. 

In the past he worked as chief innovation fellow for the Government of Canada, where he advised deputy ministers on innovation policy and emerging trends. 

Moffatt divided his presentation into three parts – first, how Ontario is growing, second, the lack of supply and migration from Greater Toronto to cities like Barrie and what is next we should expect in the housing market. 

Councillor Kungl raised an issue about balancing growing demand for housing with the environment. Moffatt recommended a high density housing as a solution by finding the right balance between building detached/semi detached homes and medium size residential buildings. 

In the final question, Mayor Lehman wanted to know if young people would want to buy the middle density houses? Professor Moffatt said at present they don’t have any option other than buying whatever limited supply the market has but stressed the need to build more three and four bedroom places. 

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