SOURCE: The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

October 04, 2016 05:30 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: Red Tape Costs Homebuilders Twice as Much in Toronto Than Hamilton

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 04, 2016) - The cost of complying with residential development regulations in Toronto is more than twice as expensive than in Hamilton, according to a survey of homebuilders released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The New Homes and Red Tape in Ontario: Residential Land-Use Regulation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe finds that typical compliance costs were $46,569 per unit of new housing in Toronto compared to $20,961 in Hamilton.

In Oakville, one of the most regulated municipalities in the region, the cost is more than $60,000.

"Costly and confusing regulations, long approval times, rezoning delays, and overall uncertainty for developers both increases the costs and impedes new homes from being built throughout the Golden Horseshoe," said Kenneth Green, a senior research director at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the study.

The red tape ranking, which includes survey data from 2014 and 2016, compares municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe on the length and uncertainty of construction approval times, regulatory costs and fees, rezoning prevalence and level of opposition to development.

Toronto ranked 20th out of 23 municipalities, ahead of only Oakville, Ajax and King Township.

Toronto earned low marks in the survey for having the highest opposition to new housing development from city council and community groups and for requiring nearly 70 per cent of all new residential development property to be rezoned.

In Toronto's case, the rezoning process takes more than seven months (on average) to complete -- nearly double the region's average of four months.

"If city councils in the Golden Horseshoe really want to increase the supply of housing and lower prices, they should consider more sound regulatory regimes that encourage, not stifle, residential development," Green said.

*Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities (least regulated at the top):

  1. Burlington
  2. Hamilton
  3. Milton
  4. Brampton
  5. Uxbridge
  6. Whitby
  7. East Gwillimbury
  8. Markham
  9. Vaughan
  10. Newmarket
  11. Halton Hills
  12. Oshawa
  13. Bradford West Gwillimbury
  14. Mississauga
  15. Pickering
  16. Whitchurch-Stouffville
  17. Caledon
  18. Richmond Hill
  19. Aurora
  20. Toronto
  21. Oakville
  22. Ajax
  23. King Township

*This aggregate index only includes municipalities that garnered sufficient numbers of survey responses.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information

    Pierre Desrochers
    Senior Fellow
    Fraser Institute

    Ken Green
    Senior Director, Centre for Natural Resource Studies
    Fraser Institute

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    Aanand Radia
    Media Relations Consultant
    Fraser Institute
    (416) 363-6575 ext. 238