Lack of affordable rental and owned housing

Bruce County recently launched the Affordable Housing Toolkit with a report on the housing strategy, Affordable Housing 101 Guide which “…shares with developers fundamental information and resources highlighting the context of creating affordable housing in Bruce County and its local municipalities”.

The current picture of housing, not just in Saugeen Shores, but across the county, is bleak.

“Between 2016 and 2019, the rental vacancy rate in Saugeen Shores fell from 5.9% to 0.5% today.” As vacancy rates have plummeted, rent prices have skyrocketed, making it almost impossible for many to find rental accommodation.

Additionally, short-term rentals have compounded the problem. Landlords who have private rentals have decided to “profit” from the demand for rental properties. Whether it’s the ability to rent to high-income contract workers from the nearby nuclear power plant, or to summer vacationers willing to pay high-priced short-term rentals during peak tourist season, the effect is felt on the rental market for low-income people. workers who want to settle in the community permanently but cannot find affordable housing.

According to the report, from 2016 to 2020, 812 medium to high density homes, such as apartment buildings (16.1%) and townhouses (20.3%), were built in Saugeen Shores. Given the growth in demand for rental housing and the population of working-age and senior households, the City aims to increase the proportion of mid- to high-density housing to meet the needs of current and future residents. It remains to be seen whether or not developers offer these types of housing at an “affordable cost”.

According to the report, “Approximately 7,000 households call Saugeen Shores their home in 2021. The number of households is expected to increase a further 27.1% to 9,600 households by 2046. In 2016, 79.4% of households in Saugeen Shores owned their homes, while 20.6% rented. Housing affordability is an issue for households in the city, primarily affecting renter households of which 43.5% spend 30% or more of their income on housing. By comparison, 11.2% of homeowners face the same affordability issues.

The acceptable statistic for housing, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is that no one should pay more than 30% of their income for housing. In Saugeen Shores, it was reported that 43.5% of renters and 11.2% of owners pay more than 30% for basic accommodation.

Figures elsewhere are similar. According to the 2016 census, 45% of Bruce County renters report spending more than 30% of their income on housing, again above what is considered affordable.

As most in the community know, the purchase price of a home has more than doubled from $225,433 in 2016 to $513,875 in 2020 and continues to rise to over $700,000. .

In the report, “the average cost of rental units increased by 18.6%, from $855 in 2016 to $1,052 in 2020”. Those with families who need two- or three-bedroom units are much poorer, however, with rents ranging from $1,600 to $2,000.

Countywide, in 2021, there were approximately 634 applicants on the community housing waiting list, an increase of 29.3% from 2018. Most applicants (95.0%) in 2021 requested rent-geared-to-income housing demonstrating the significant need for “subsidized housing”. ‘ housing options and affordability challenges faced by low-income households across the county.

In 2021, in Saugeen Shores alone, there were 324 households on the waiting list for subsidized housing. According to the county report, the largest share of applicants were adults (128), followed by families (117) and seniors (79). “While the number of households on the waitlist decreased for all applicant types from 259 applicants in 2019, the number of seniors on the waitlist increased the most, from 62 applicants in 2019 to 79 in 2021, indicating a greater housing need for this population. overtime.” The figures also indicate that older people are less likely to want to leave the area, while adults and families with children may be looking elsewhere to try to live more affordably.

While the rental market is most in demand, 52.4% of all new housing developments in Saugeen Shores were single-detached homes in 2020 and similarly in Kincardine, 64.5% of all new construction was single-detached homes.

There is a particular need for one and two bedroom rental units in Bruce County, but in 2016 only 24.9% of all homes in Bruce County had two bedrooms or less. The lack of rental housing and the high cost of available housing are having an impact. Those in the service sector, for example, who earn less, can no longer afford to live where they work, which affects job growth and creates difficulties for employers.

It is recognized that communities need developers, builders and landlords to create new “affordable” rental housing for low-income renter households earning between $31,500 and $47,000 per year. The key being “affordable” and whether or not the desire to keep prices affordable is there.

Moderate incomes for homeownership are pegged at $63,500 to $95,400 in the report. Therefore, “moderate” homeownership would be between $230,700 and $346,600.

According to the Real Estate Board of Gray Bruce (RAGBOS), however, benchmark single-family home prices rose 27.9% year-over-year to $607,000, for townhomes and townhomes. row by 40.4% to reach $488,800 and for apartments by 45.9%. percent at $386,400.

Additionally, according to RAGBOS, in March 2022 alone, the average price of homes sold increased 17.4% from March 2021 to $759,427. Year-to-date, the average price in the region was $760,693, a 23.6% gain from the first three months of 2021.

Bruce County acknowledging there is a housing issue, in addition to new Phase 1 report’Affordable Housing 101 Guide‘, will also release three-phase updates to the Affordable Housing Toolkitsuitable for developers of multi-residential buildings, developers and builders of low to medium density housing, and owners or lessors who could intensify their portfolio.

Comments are closed.