In the GTA, the housing affordability crisis has emerged as a significant social challenge, transcending economic discussions to profoundly affect the well-being of its residents. Our comprehensive analysis reveals a 9% reduction in well-being among those affected by housing unaffordability. This social value cost of this decline is especially notable among renters and younger demographics, highlighting a societal issue that disproportionately affects specific groups. This reduction in well-being is not a trivial concern; it holds substantial social value implications, with our estimates placing the total negative social value for residents living unaffordably in the GTA at $37 billion in 2023. This amount is not only a significant proportion of Ontario’s GDP but also a clear indication of the extent to which housing unaffordability permeates and undermines the social fabric.
Furthermore, the comparison of the social value cost of unaffordability to the impact of major chronic diseases adds another layer of context to this crisis. The finding that the social value cost of housing unaffordability in the GTA is comparable to, and in some cases exceeds, the social value cost of major chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes is a poignant revelation. This comparison serves to underscore the severity of the housing affordability crisis, equating it with some of the most significant health challenges faced by society.
The implications of these findings indicate that addressing housing unaffordability is not just a matter of economic policy but a crucial aspect of improving overall societal well-being. It is imperative that policymakers and stakeholders acknowledge the far-reaching implications of this crisis and implement strategies that address the root causes of unaffordability. Only then can we hope to restore the well-being and social value lost to this pervasive issue, and ensure a more equitable and satisfying life for all residents of the GTA.
Download the report: Locked Out: Social Value Cost of GTA’s Housing Crisis