Affordability in Toronto

| Filed under: Toronto

More than Three-Quarters Say Toronto Becoming Unaffordable

Rent and Real Estate identified as most contributing to costs

Toronto, September 7th – In a random sampling of public opinion taken by The Forum Poll™ among 811 Toronto voters, 8 in 10 (79%) say Toronto is becoming unaffordable. One-fifth (21%) say Toronto is not becoming unaffordable.


Amongst those that say Toronto is becoming unaffordable, one-third (36%), say the cost of real restate contributes most, while a quarter (23%), say it’s rent, and about one-sixth (13%) say it’s wages not keeping pace with costs.


A few identified property taxes (7%), shortage of funding for public services (5%), cost of utilities (5%) or private services such as insurance (5%), the cost of food (3%), or another reason (4%).


More affordable if property taxes were lower? Majority says no.


Amongst those who pay property taxes, or live with someone who pays property taxes, more than half (BTM2: 58%) say lower property taxes wouldn’t make life more affordable, with a quarter (27%) saying they wouldn’t make life more affordable at all.


4 in 10 (TOP2: 42%) say that lower property taxes would make life more affordable, but only one-sixth (15%) say it would make life much more affordable.


Two-thirds opposed to property tax cut if it jeopardized public services


Amongst all Torontonians, two-thirds (BTM2: 67%) say they are not likely to support a property tax cut if it meant cuts to city services, with half (49%) saying they are not at all likely to support such a cut.


A third (TOP2: 33%) said they would support a property tax cut if it meant cuts to public services, with one-sixth (15%) saying they would be very likely to support such a decrease.


Opinion also split on increasing property tax to improve services


Amongst all Torontonians, Opinion is evenly divided on supporting an increase to property taxes to improve city services with half (TOP2: 47%) saying they would be likely to support such an increase, and half (BTM2: 53%) saying they are not likely to support such an increase.


Rent control seen as helpful by one-quarter


A quarter (26%) say rent control would make Toronto more affordable, and a fifth (18%) say improving public services. Roughly equal proportions identified freezing property taxes (12%), easing restrictions on real estate development (11%), expanding Toronto community housing (12%), or something else (11%).


1 in 10 (11%) said they were not sure.


Half said cost of living would make them consider leaving Toronto


Half (52%) said the cost of living in the city would make them consider living, with the other half (48%) saying it wouldn’t.


A follow up question was asked of those that said they would consider leaving; it asked them how likely, if at all, they would be to do so.


Amongst  that group, 8 in 10 (TOP2: 83%) said they are likely to leave, with almost half (47%) saying they are very likely to leave.


Only about one-sixth (BTM2: 17%) said they aren’t likely to leave, with 1 in 10 (10%) saying they are not at all likely to leave.


Amongst those that would consider leaving, 1 in 10 (12%) said it would be in the short term, 4 in 10 (37%) saying in the medium term, and 4 in 10 (37%) saying in the long term. One-sixth (14%) said they do not know.


Tory still at more than 50% support


Amongst decided and leaning voters, more than (55%) say they would support John Tory if an election were held today, while a third (30%) say they would support Jennifer Keesmaat. One-sixth (15%) say they would support another candidate.


Tory seen as most likely to improve affordability


4 in 10 (37%) say that John Tory is the candidate most likely to improve affordability if elected, while a quarter (25%) say it will be Jennifer Keesmaat.


1 in 10 (11%) say it will be another candidate.


A quarter (27%) say they do not know.


Tory’s approval still high


More than half (54%) say they approve of the job John Tory is doing as Mayor, while a quarter (27%) say they disapprove. One-fifth (19%) say they do not know.

“Affordability is clearly an issue for many in Toronto, with a staggering number of voters saying the city is becoming unaffordable,” said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, President of Forum Research. “Housing costs, such as the price of real estate and rent are seen as the cause by many, but currently, while Tory leads on the issue, it isn’t nearly as big as his lead in voter intention. If Keesmaat, or another opponent can speak credibly to this issue, it could provide a big opportunity for their campaign.”

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.