Toronto, May 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new study produced by Altus Group for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) found that municipalities across the GTA have accumulated $1.13 billion in unspent parkland reserve funds on the backs of parkland cash-in-lieu payments (parkland payments) by homebuilders. These payments have increased by as much as 329 per cent since 2006 and are levied on new developments, and in turn, passed on to new home buyers. Parkland payments can add $20,000 to $30,000 or more to the cost of a new home.

“Municipal governments need to recognize the impact that fees and taxes have on new home affordability,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO of BILD. “Charges by all three levels of government already account for as much as 25 per cent of the cost of a new home in the GTA and are increasing. Parkland cash-in-lieu payments are yet another fee that negatively affects housing affordability.”

The Planning Act currently allows for municipalities to require that five per cent of the land to be developed be made available for park or other public recreational purposes. Alternatively, due to more dense or urban development, municipalities may accept a parkland payment instead of land.

These fees are based on the value of land and as land values have increased significantly since the introduction of the Growth Plan in 2006, parkland payments to municipalities have also increased dramatically. Of the 29 municipalities examined in the study, four had increases above 300 per cent since 2006, 14 had increases between 200 – 300 per cent, nine had increases between 100-200 per cent, one had an increase of 78 per cent and one reduced their fees. Over the 2006-2017 time period, the funds sitting in reserve by these municipalities have increased from just over $300 million to $1.13 billion.

“BILD and its members support parks as an integral amenity to any new development, however, municipalities are clearly collecting more funds than they are returning to communities in the form of recreation facilities and parks,” added Wilkes. “This is being done on the backs of the new homeowner who in the case of high-rise condominium dwellers in urban environments are not getting the benefit of a park that they paid for.”

The Altus Group study also demonstrated that, as currently structured, parkland payments could be acting as a disincentive to more dense homes within a particular municipality, counter to the intensification objectives and policies. All things being equal, without a cap on parkland payments, a unit in a more dense development would pay more parkland payments on a per unit basis than a unit in a less dense development.

“With housing affordability being the number one issue across the GTA, all levels of government need to be cognisant of the impact of their policies, fees and practices. Clearly, the practice of cash-in-lieu payments needs to be revisited, especially in light of all the other costs that get rolled into development charges,” continued Wilkes. “We are pleased that the provincial government is looking at a new “community benefit authority” as part of its Housing Supply Action Plan, currently in front of the legislature. Hopefully, this will provide some relief to those looking to buy a new home.”

 

Read the full report here.

 

About BILD

With 1,500 member companies, BILD is the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area. The building and renovation industry provides $33 billion in investment value and employs 271,000 people in the region. BILD is proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders' Associations.

 

About Altus Group Limited

Altus Group Limited is a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate industry. Our businesses, Altus Analytics and Altus Expert Services, reflect decades of experience, a range of expertise, and technology-enabled capabilities. Our solutions empower clients to analyze, gain insight and recognize value on their real estate investments. Headquartered in Canada, we have approximately 2,500 employees around the world, with operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Our clients include some of the world’s largest commercial real estate industry participants. Altus Group pays a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share and our shares are traded on the TSX under the symbol AIF. For more information on Altus Group, please visit: www.altusgroup.com.

 

 

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For additional information or to schedule an interview, contact John Provenzano, BILD Communications and Media Relations Manager, at JProvenzano@bildgta.ca, (416) 617-7994.

John Provenzano
Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD)
4166443912
jprovenzano@bildgta.ca