Currently, Canadians are struggling to find affordable housing options close to their workplace and family. As a result, the conversation about “affordable housing” has become a reoccurring topic for all the levels of government. As a result, it is important to ensure that when talking about affordable housing, the proper terminology is being used when speaking towards housing that is affordable vs. social housing.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and RAHB, spending more than 30 per cent of before tax income on housing is unaffordable. It does not solely refer to social or subsidized housing. RAHB is advocating for elected officials and governments to use the proper terminology of “affordable housing” in policies and officials documents, and when speaking to the media.

Secondary suites are an untapped market that enables homeowners to create affordable rental spaces. The creation of affordable rental units will help to stimulate the rental market, while also helping to reduce the homeowner’s expenses.

Dr. Frank Clayton, senior research fellow, Center for Urban Land Research and Development at Ryerson University, argues that secondary suites are the most cost-effective way to create rental units. Below are the estimated costs* to create a rental unit:

  • Secondary Suite in Existing Dwelling = $55,000
  • High-end Downtown Area  = $425,680
  • Median Central (Not Downtown) = $345,746
  • Basic Fringe  = $242,623
  • Non-Profit = $229,00 – $266,000

* The above costs are based on the Toronto Market Area.

A secondary suite is a great way for a first-time home buyer client to help subsidize monthly mortgage payments, while at the same time, helping to create more affordable rental units within the RAHB area.

However, to create a legal rental unit within the RAHB market area has become increasingly difficult. Thus, it is important that as REALTORS® you continue to speak about the importance of secondary suites and how they can help the RAHB market areas become more affordable not just for first-time home buyers, but for everyone.

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