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Defining the realtor’s role in affordable housing

Realtors can have a positive impact when it comes to tackling the complex issue of affordable housing, according to a new whitepaper from Exit Realty.

The Realtor’s Role in Affordable Housing looks at affordable housing and housing affordability, two different and important issues, according to the corporation. The report states:

Affordable housing generally refers to housing (that) people with low-to-moderate incomes can afford. However, in markets like Toronto, where… home prices (average) $1,254,436…even people with generous annual incomes are finding it difficult to save a traditional 20% down payment and afford to own a home.

The corporation is sharing its members’ insights on the hot-button issue and looking at how real estate professionals can apply their existing skillset to affect real change. Key takeaways include how service, volunteerism, education and advocacy can move the needle to create change and opportunity for those searching for an affordable home.


    • Research the provincial housing authority to find funding opportunities.
    • Consider what municipalities are doing to increase affordable housing options in the community.
    • Research charitable organizations, meet with their directors and learn about their programs.


    • Support non-profit organizations involved in creating affordable housing (e.g. Habitat for Humanity) through volunteering and fundraising efforts.


    • Host homebuyer education classes.
    • Offer your skillset as an educational resource through community organizations or places of worship.
    • Partner with other industry professionals (e.g. mortgage brokers) to help answer questions.


    • Advocate for or consider investing in the development of more multi-family housing.
    • Lend your expertise and advocate for zoning changes that permit the building of multi-family housing complexes, mixed-use commercial/residential and the conversion of shopping malls to affordable living spaces.

“Real estate professionals are in the trenches every day; collectively, we have one of the strongest voices for change,” says Tami Bonnell, author of The Realtor’s Role in Affordable Housing and co-chair of Exit Realty. “We can be the voice for change in our communities by advocating for the development of more solutions.”