New Development Brings Affordable Housing To Toronto
The GTA’s first six-storey, production-built wood-framed residences have broken ground, with plans to provide condos and townhouses for first-time homebuyers.
“Finding an affordable place to live is one of the biggest challenges we face in this city,” Mayor John Tory said at the groundbreaking of the new 3.6-acre condominium community.
At 5131 Sheppard Ave. East, the project is dubbed Daniels FirstHome Markham Sheppard.
“There is a growing divide between those who can easily afford [housing] and those who simply can’t,” Tory said.
The Daniels Corp. purchased the property from the city’s independent Build Toronto, which provides surplus government land for the purpose of creating affordable housing. The former Toronto Transit Commission property will feature 30% affordable housing.
“This is a project that exemplifies what Build Toronto is here to do,” Ward 24 Councillor and Build Toronto Board Chair David Shiner said at the groundbreaking. “We have to get back to the neighbourhoods in our city."
Potential purchasers will have access to both Daniels 5% Gradual Deposit Payment Plan, allowing for a gradual down payment, and the BOOST program, an interest-free second mortgage for 10% of the purchase price. Funds for this program are provided by the federal and provincial governments and administered through the city.
“The greatest hurdle to homeownership is a significant enough down payment to make carrying costs manageable,” Daniels Corp. Executive Vice President Niall Haggart said. “This is now the most financially accessible community within the GTA.”
When finished, the project will include 228 suites in three six-storey condominium buildings. Suites will range from 443 SF studios to 1,053 SF three-bedroom units.
One hundred townhomes will also be built and will range from 528 SF to 1,172 SF. In keeping with a more family-oriented approach, 50% of the homes are two- or three-bedroom designs.
The completed project, which Daniels is developing with Toronto's Diamond Corp., will be the first six-storey production-built wood-framed residences in the GTA, following a 2015 provincial building code change.
“There's a certain amount of pioneering with this project,” Haggart said. “We’re excited about it.”
And if potential buyers are a little hesitant about the concept of wood-frame, as part of Daniels’ policy, units will not be sold until finished. Daniels plans to first release a select number of homes for sale in Phase 1 to first-time buyers who qualify for the BOOST program in the summer of 2018.
“This provides the potential buyers with a one-on-one experience,” Haggart said. “They can see the community. They can touch it.”
Despite this project, and the recent announcement that surplus provincially owned land would be developed as affordable housing, Tory said the GTA has not always been up to the housing challenge.
In a metropolis where rents average $1K/month and housing values have approached a million dollars, Tory said the city has consistently failed to reach its affordable housing goals.
“We set a goal as a city in 2009 of building or approving a thousand affordable housing units a year,” he said.
“And simply put, we did not meet that target. For the first time since setting that goal in 2009, the city will actually meet and in fact exceed that goal set so many years ago.”