TORONTO — The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) has released a survey of its members that shows a majority of residential construction projects in the GTA have been delayed due the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, released June 22, covered 498 active construction projects representing 156,000 units at various stages of construction. A total of 276 of the projects are located in Toronto.
The interruptions will have far-reaching impacts on housing supply in an already tight market and will have negative financial impacts on government coffers, BILD president and CEO Dave Wilkes said in the statement.
“One might ask, if the building industry was granted essential workplace status, why are there new housing slowdowns,” said Wilkes. “The response is a bit complicated. Disruptions to the supply chain negatively impacted the ability of the industry to secure vital building materials. Worksites had to appropriately adjust to COVID-19 protocols as social distancing rules negatively impacted productivity and some municipalities had to adjust to working remotely.
“This slowed processing of planning and building applications and stalled developments and construction projects.”
The survey found that 65 per cent of projects in the City of Toronto reported interruptions of three to six months and 32 per cent were greater than six months. Eighty-three per cent of not-yet-above-grade projects reported delays of three to six months and 11 per cent are greater than six months.
Eighty-five per cent of projects under construction permitted for above grade reported a delay of three to six months and five per cent are greater than six months.
The Altus Group examined the survey data and concluded that the holdups will result in the loss of about 9,000 housing starts over the course of the next 18 months. This will set back occupancy of over 8,000 units by the end of 2021 and see the loss of 10,000 jobs per year.
Federal, provincial and municipal government revenues will also be detrimentally impacted by the loss of housing starts throughout 2020 and 2021, BILD said. Lost revenues include $340 million in lost development charges, $13.5 million in lost education development charges, $26 million in property taxes, $364 million in HST, $53.8 million in provincial land transfer tax and $52.5 million in lost municipal land transfer tax.
“Now more than ever, all levels of government must work together to make sure that proper measures are in place to remove barriers that will unlock consumer and industry construction investments to help kick-start the economy,” said Wilkes.