Ontario’s population is growing rapidly, which will require the building of one million new family-friendly, climate-friendly homes in the next ten years. Baby Needs a New Home explores population and demographic trends across Ontario. Failure to build enough housing in our cities and communities will increase the number of young families driving until they qualify across the province in search of housing.

Drive until you qualify is a powerful force. In the 12 months between July 2019 and July 2020, 60,000 people, on net, left the City of Toronto and Peel Region for other parts of the province. These were primarily made of children under the age of 5 and their parents, who are moving further from their existing careers and community in the search for family-friendly housing that meets their needs and wants in communities across Southern Ontario.  We should expect that this reality will continue for the projected 910,000 net new families formed in Ontario over the next decade.

Baby Needs a New Home provides projections, at a local level, for 49 communities, of the number of the demand for high-rise apartments (5 storeys or more) units and other forms of housing, based on historical trends. This provides policymakers and home builders from Kenora to Windsor with the data needed for informed decision making. Furthermore, the report calculates an existing excess demand for homes of 64,000 units due to homebuilding not keeping up with population growth over the past five years. Put together, Ontario will need to build approximately one million net new homes to keep up with the demand of a growing population.

How many housing units are ultimately built in the province will be the result of the choices all levels of government make in the coming years. If Ontario manages, through the complex planning system that ultimately requires municipal governments to implement Official Plans, to ensure housing supply matches with projected housing demand, the provincial economy and residents of the province will benefit enormously as the quality of life improves and housing becomes more available, attainable, and sustainable.

Ten Key Points From This Report 

  1. If Ontario Ministry of Finance population growth projections of 2.27 million more people over the next ten years prove prescient, Ontario will need to build one million new homes to keep up with population growth, the formation of young families, and to address current and future housing supply shortages. 
  2. Of these one million new homes, we project 910,000 will be needed due to the formation of new households, 65,000 will be needed to address the current supply gaps, and 25,000 are a cushion for unanticipated additional population growth. 
  3. The growing population of Ontarians in their late 20s and early 30s is driving the demand for family-friendly housing. Families are spreading out across the province looking for a home in which to raise a family or are delaying having children due to a lack of housing options. 
  4. Of the 910,000 net new households formed over the next ten years, primarily made up of couples planning on having children, we project that 195,000 will live in high-rise apartments (of five storeys or more), while 715,000 will live in all other forms of housing. 
  5. We project that 1.475 million new households, with a head of household currently under the age of 55, will be formed over the next ten years. Of these, approximately 225,000 will live in high-rise apartments, with the rest living in other forms of housing. 
  6. Of the 225,000 new young households that will live in high-rise apartment units, only 30,000 units will be freed up by the generational turnover of those currently over the age of 55. 
  7. Generational turnover of other forms of housing will house roughly 45% of the new young families that will live in forms of housing other than high-rise apartments. The rest will come from new home construction. 
  8. Differences between levels of generational turnover are substantial. In some communities, generational turnover can provide an adequate supply of housing for the next generation. In other communities, it only scratches the surface. This report provides population and household growth projections for every one of Ontario’s 49 Census Divisions, from Essex to Toronto to Kenora. 
  9. The Ministry’s population growth projections show the growth in non-permanent residents, including international students, levelling off by the middle of the decade. Should Ontario’s international student boom persist longer, our population will, all else being equal, grow even larger than these projections indicate. 
  10. The data provided are not predictions, nor are they forecasts, rather they are projections based, in part, by policy decisions made by each level of government. Policy changes, from the rules governing international students to zoning policies, would alter these projections. Ultimately, the future is what we make of it. The goal of this report is to provide policymakers with the data they need to make the policy decisions to ensure there is an adequate supply of attainable, family-friendly, climate-friendly housing located near employment opportunities, to allow for relatively short, climate-friendly commutes.