Market Insight for Week of September 30th, 2022

September 30th, 2022

Developers are waiting longer for approvals and consumers are paying more.


Toronto area municipalities are taking 40 percent longer on average to approve housing development applications than they did two years ago, and the cost of processing those permits has soared more than 30 percent.


The fees and cost of delays are among the highest in the country and are being passed directly on to GTA homebuyers while extending the time it takes to bring new homes to market, says the latest benchmarking report released by the region’s homebuilders on Tuesday.


Two years ago, municipal fees, including development charges, parkland, planning, and permitting costs, added about $90,000 or $40 per sq. ft. to the cost of a single-family home in the GTA. This year, those costs averaged $116,900 or $53 per sq. ft.


For high-rise condos, those costs amounted to about $59,000 or $72 per sq. ft. This year, the study found they added up to $80,621 per unit or $99 per sq. ft.


In the City of Toronto, development charges added were $189,325 or $85 per sq. ft. per house and $99,894 or $125 per sq. ft. for condos. Every month of delay for a condo or apartment, adds about $2,600 to the cost.


Municipalities say limited staff and the turnaround time for applications to be resubmitted are among the reasons for the delays, according to the report. Despite years of talk about cutting red tape and a growing consensus that a housing shortage is a leading cause of the region’s affordability crisis, the development process has become slower and more costly, said David Wilkes, CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).


Among 16 Toronto region municipalities, approval times for most types of development applications — including rezoning, site plans and plans of subdivision — averaged 20 to 24 months. But they ranged from 10 to 34 months depending on the municipality.


Milton had the fastest approvals averaging 10 months. Caledon had the slowest at 34 months. Toronto, which has some of the most complex planning applications, averaged about 32 months. Two years ago, Toronto had a 21-month average wait time.


The report acknowledges that some of the increase in wait times across the Toronto region could be due to the two-to three-month period starting in March and April 2020 where municipal council meetings were postponed or cancelled. Municipal officials have also argued that time spent working with applications results in better development.