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VIDEO: Will fewer international students really help ease our housing crisis?

'If we're lucky, we might actually see a decrease in rents,' says economist Mike Moffatt, a guest on the latest episode of our Inside the Village podcast

There were plenty of headlines this week about the federal government's announcement of a two-year cap on the number of international students coming into Canada — a move aimed at "bad actor" institutions far more interested in higher profits than higher education. 

The cap (360,000 approvals for 2024, divvied up between provinces on the basis of population) will have the biggest impact on Ontario, where the number of new international students will essentially be cut in half.

The Ford government was quick to respond to the news from Ottawa, announcing a moratorium on new public-private college partnerships — which represent a huge revenue stream for Ontario colleges, especially in the north. The province also promised to require all post-secondary schools to "guarantee that housing options are available for incoming students."

Economist Mike Moffatt, a professor at Western University's Ivey Business School and senior director of policy and innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute, has advised the federal cabinet during its two most recent retreats. He was a guest on the latest episode of Village Media's Inside the Village podcast, where he explained the statistics behind this week's developments.

During the interview, Moffatt was asked if the crackdown on international students could help curb soaring rents in certain Ontario cities.

"I really think it will," he said. "If we've got fewer students coming in, at the very least we should see those rent increases stop. If we're lucky, we might actually see a decrease in rents. And the big thing that we should see is a reduction in the number of investors who are buying up these single-family homes. I think that is going to be one of the biggest benefits. First-time home buyers have been essentially locked out of a lot of these markets because they can't compete with the investors who want to turn them into student rentals."

You can watch the full episode HERE.

Hosted by Scott Sexsmith and Michael Friscolanti, the Editor-in-Chief of Village Media, Inside the Village is a news and current affairs podcast that provides a weekly window into some of the best local journalism from across our chain of Ontario newsrooms. Produced by Derek Turner, the program also explores bigger-picture issues that impact people across the province.

Every episode is available HERE. If you prefer the audio version, it is available wherever you find your favourite podcasts.

Have something to say? You can reach us at [email protected].

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