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Political leaders discuss current economic issues at housing summit

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Realtors from across southwestern Ontario gathered at the Western Ontario Housing Economic Summit to hear from expert panelists, including a discussion on the state of the economy, which quickly veered to inflation and interest rates.

“I read the same public analysis that all of you do. Perhaps we can look forward to a rate cut this spring or this early summer,” said Peter Fragiskatos, MP for London North Centre.

The panel was represented by all levels of government in the area and spoke of the challenges facing communities showing steady population growth.

“For 25 years, we hadn't built an apartment building. We've built within the processes, 15 of them and counting, people recognizing exactly that. The first one that was built, 250 units, the builder told me they never filled it so fast,” said Darrin Canniff, mayor for Chatham-Kent.

The future outlook for housing was also tackled with different perspectives, and a common theme of collaborative working.

“There is no magic bullet. If there was, no matter the stripe of government, they would have done it. Even if it is millions and millions of dollars. They would have done it. There is no easy solution to the challenge in front of us,” said Matthew Rae, MPP for Perth-Wellington.

Canniff added, “By working together and solving those issues collectively, we all bring certain aspects to the table. And when working together, that's how we're going to solve the issues we face.”

Fragiskatos talked about what could be the trend in the near future: modular homes.

“Industrial approach to housing, I think, is something that you can look forward to. Certainly, it's something that I and other members of Parliament are pushing. They can produce up to three houses a day. And you go into the homes of the some of the modular homes. You don't realize that was made in a factory. I mean, these are beautiful homes that come in various models for different income types,” said Fragiskatos.

The conversation also spoke of the need for greater funding to municipalities to deliver services, including an expected surge in need for electricity and storm sewer infrastructure.

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