More than half of GTA renters say they're seriously considering moving away because accommodation in the region has become so expensive. Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, said the company's latest poll shows widespread concern about the cost of living both in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, where home prices have soared in recent years. Half of GTA residents hope for a drop in prices of at least 10%, if not more, and strongly support government intervention to bring down housing costs, the poll found. "However, the cautionary tale coming out of the other major market where this is ongoing for several years, and where we've seen politicians try to take action, is that although measures to attempt to cool the market have been very, very popular, they also are perceived to have been largely ineffective - and I'm talking about Greater Vancouver," Kurl said. While Torontonians are now feeling the pain of expensive housing and looking to politicians for solutions, Vancouverites appear resigned to it and do not believe government can fix it, she said. The Angus Reid Institute last looked at housing and transportation issues in these cities in 2015, and at that time, Toronto was more consumed with the transit issue. This time around, 54% of GTA residents indicated that housing affordability was their top issue, compared to 35% in 2015. And while 44% of those polled in 2015 thought low interest rates were the main reason for rising house prices, 42% now blame foreign investors. Getting accurate information on what's really happening in the housing market will be critical for politicians considering taking action, Kurl said. "There's been a strong perception in Metro Vancouver again - which has sort of been the canary in the coal mine on this issue - that foreign ownership has been a really big driver of skyrocketing prices, that and the speculation of wealthy people who have money to spend and are looking for a place for their dollars to appreciate," she said. "Is this a real issue or is this simply a perception, and perhaps a wrong one or a right one … Clearly, it is a very pervasive perception."
GTA renters want government help to lower costs