Milton Development

Milton is growing up!  And you can see it in the numbers

Regional Councillor Colin Best recently sent me an email with the monthly construction activity in Milton for the last two years, and one thing became really clear… the shift has begun towards building MORE apartments, and the shift happened incredibly quickly.

In 2017, townhouses were the hot selling housing option.  But as affordability has been eroded by interest rate increases and the mortgage stress-test introduced in 2017, we learned something very important…

People didn’t stop buying homes – they just shifted their focus!

For example, if pre-stress-test a buyer was considering a detached home, they shifted to a semi-detached.  Townhouse buyers shifted to condos, and so on.

Demand remained very strong in 2018.  Despite numerous government attempts to slow the housing market, prices gently crept up and people continued to buy homes.

Developers, to their credit, took notice of these trends, and submitted permits in 2018 that looked a LOT different than 2017.

Have a look at the differences between the percentage of permits issues for each property type:

2018 2017
Single family/semi-detached 33% 39%
Townhouses 15% 45%
Apartments 48% 11%
(If you counted and noticed that neither column added up to 100%, congratulations!  I left out “multi-family” dwellings… very sharp of you to pay attention!)


Did you catch it??  Nearly HALF of all permits submitted in 2018 were for high-rise apartments.

As of the time of writing this article, more than 20 condominium and high-rise projects (with a combined total of more than 4,000 units) are either in process of review, approval or construction in urban Milton, to be completed between 2019-2022.

Change starts from the top and works its way down

The local Town council always seems to bear the brunt of anger around development.  The NIMBY crowd always seems to have something to say, and sometimes their arguments are quite valid.

Nobody wants a big high-rise building affecting their view!

But what a lot of people don’t understand is that the plans for development have mostly been written “on the wall” for decades.

The way it works is the Federal and Provincial governments assess growth areas and create policies around land use.  Currently, the plan we work from in Ontario is called the Places to Grow Act.

The Regional Municipalities line up their plans with the province and establish a framework for land use on a regional level.  This is where you’ll find the documents for Halton Region, which is in the process of amending their latest Official Plan.

Halton Region is a key area of development and growth for the province, with Milton and Georgetown bearing most of the load for incoming population.  The population of Halton Region is expected to exceed ONE MILLION residents in the next 20 years, give or take.  Currently in 2018, the region has 550,000 residents.

The Town of Milton, including the Mayor and Local Councillors, work to establish zoning at a local level to support the needs of the community, while at the same time lining up with the Provincial and Regional plans.

Do the different levels of government always agree?  Absolutely not.  What fun would that be?

Lot sizes will continue to get smaller

What can’t be disputed as time moves on is the trend towards MORE DENSITY.  Fighting anything that allows more jobs or more homes per acre (provided the zoning allows for it), is most likely a losing battle.  There’s too much pressure, particularly on a Provincial level, to fight high-density development.

Properties with more land, in less dense neighbourhoods like Old Milton, will continue to retain value because land is being chopped up in smaller and smaller pieces.  They’re just not building homes with larger lots anymore.

Even within the last 20 years, we’ve seen Mattamy homes reduce their maximum lot frontages from 56-feet to 50-feet to 43-feet, now mostly down to 36-feet for detached homes.

As another example, some of the new developments in Milton are building 16-20 homes per acre (or more), while the Old Milton neighbourhood remains at about 7-8 homes per acre.  To visualize, an acre is about the size of a football field.  Homes per acre will only continue to increase year over year.

Want to buy a piece of property in Milton that will be developed?

You may already be too late, because most of the areas ready for development TODAY were purchased in large parcels by developers about 25 years ago.

You can peek ahead to the next 25 years by educating yourself about all levels of government and their plans for our community.  It also helps to talk to people who study growth and development locally, including members of our real estate team, a local or Regional councillor, or even stop by the Mayor’s office.

You might even find yourself eating jellybeans at his desk before you know it!