Garden suites: a partial solution to the housing shortage, experts say

Apartments such as small houses, garages with an apartment upstairs, alley houses or even garden suites, these self-contained houses built in the backyard of a primary residence are becoming increasingly popular in Toronto.

Much cheaper than a single family home, they offer another option for Torontonians looking to buy a property. Renting them out can also provide additional income for the owners who let them build on their land.

The establishment of Garden Suites in Toronto is an essential step in expanding the city’s housing supply and creating a more inclusive and resilient city for its residents and future residents.Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

It’s part of the puzzlesays Karen Chapple, professor of geography and urban planning at the University of Toronto.

According to the researcher, almost half of the territory of the city of Toronto belongs to it yellow beltrelating to single family homes in the Toronto area.

The percentage of undeveloped land in Toronto is immense. »

A quote from Karen Chapple, Professor of Geography and Urban Planning at the University of Toronto

She believes that allowing homeowners to build second homes on their land densifies neighborhoods without distorting them.

Permitting garden suites construction allows Toronto to grow without constantly building tower blocksShe believes.

She adds that these second homes will offer options better suited to residents’ needs.

ans”,”text”:”Les politiques de zonage de Toronto sont devenues plus rigides et uniformes au fil du temps, ce qui fait qu’il est de plus en plus difficile pour des personnes âgées de rester dans leur quartier. Vous n’avez pas besoin du même type de logement à 12, 25, 50 ou 80ans”}}”>Toronto’s zoning policies have become stricter and more consistent over time, making it increasingly difficult for seniors to stay in their neighborhoods. At 12, 25, 50 or 80 you don’t need the same type of apartmentShe says.

Accessibility issue

While agreeing that this type of housing will offer Torontonians more opportunities, Frank Clayton, a researcher at the Center for Urban Research and Rural Development of Toronto Metropolitan University, claims it will not solve all the problems caused by Toronto’s housing crisis.

I am not against. I’m just saying that the impact on accessibility and housing will be minimal. »

A quote from Frank Clayton, researcher at the Metropolitan University of Toronto

He believes only 100 to 200 garden suites are built in Toronto each year, while thousands of new homes of all types would need to be built to improve access to housing.

He also points out that obtaining planning permission involves following a number of rules and that a garden building can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I think that converting single-family houses into two or three apartments would be a much more productive solution for housing […] The potential [pour ce genre de projet] is much larger because there are thousands of individual houses in the cityargues the researcher.

One solution among others

The chief analyst of the Real Estate Committee Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), Jason Mercer, welcomes the arrival of garden suites. He believes these diverse apartments could make tenants who can’t afford to buy a home happy, while also serving as extra income for those who rent them.

However, he warns of delays in approving all types of real estate projects.

Toronto is growing and attracting businesses and families from all over the world, but if we can’t provide affordable housing, they will go elsewhere.he said.

The City of Toronto says planning permission for a garden suite typically takes 10 days if applications comply with zoning laws and regulations.

She adds that she has already received 6 planning permission applications for garden suites and 19 preliminary zoning applications this year.

For comparison, she points out that since January she has already received 135 preliminary building permit applications and 100 approval applications for the construction of alley houses, which have already been approved in the city.

Karen Chapple points out that in places where such houses are allowed, such as California, thousands have been built in the years since the rules changed.

000habitations du genre ont été construites”,”text”:”Lorsque la Californie a changé ses lois, en trois ans, 23000habitations du genre ont été construites”}}”>When California changed its laws, 23,000 such homes were built in three yearssays the researcher, who is also professor emeritus of urban planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

However, she agrees that this alone will not solve Toronto’s housing problems.

As with climate change, we will have to develop several approaches at the same timeShe says.

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