Media Releases

Housing: Nearly 24,000 new units obstructed since Valérie Plante became Mayor of Montreal

  • This is equivalent to all the occupied private dwellings in the city of Mirabel.
  • The construction of these units would have liberated 10,692 units in less affluent neighbourhoods, including 4,039 in the poorest areas.

Montreal, July 3, 2023 – Projects totalling nearly 24,000 units have been obstructed in Montreal since the Plante administration took office in 2017, according to a study published by the Montreal Economic Institute this morning.

“By preventing the construction of tens of thousands of units, the Plante administration is contributing to Montreal becoming less and less affordable,” says Gabriel Giguère, public policy analyst at the MEI and author of the study. “Since she took office, Montreal has blocked the construction of the equivalent of the city of Mirabel in new units.”

The study counts 23,760 housing units obstructed by Montreal municipal administration decisions since the election of Valérie Plante as mayor in 2017.

These units, whose construction has been obstructed by municipal administration decisions, represents housing stock equivalent to that of the city of Mirabel, which had 24,795 occupied private dwellings in the most recent census.

A study published in 2021 in the Journal of Urban Economics estimated that for every 1,000 high-end units built, 450 units were freed up in neighbourhoods where the average income is below the median, 170 of which are in neighbourhoods where the average income is in the bottom quintile.

Based on this study, the MEI estimates that the construction of the new units currently obstructed or cancelled would have freed up at least 10,692 units in less affluent neighbourhoods, 4,039 of which would have been in the poorest neighbourhoods of Montreal.

“Whatever the sale price of a new unit, its appearance on the market contributes to affordability by increasing supply and liberating other less expensive units,” explains Mr. Giguère. “By preventing these tens of thousands of units from being built, the Plante administration has directly contributed to rising housing prices.”

The MEI invites the public to share stories of other smaller projects that were not able to go forward following City of Montreal decisions, but that did not make headlines.

The MEI study is available here.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship. 

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