Housing Affordability

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The 2016 Canadian Index of Wellbeing report shows that housing is becoming less affordable for Canadians, as they devote a greater proportion of their net income to meet their housing needs. Despite increases in family incomes between 1994 and 2014, shelter costs in Canada rose by 6.3%.

Source: Canadian Index of Wellbeing National Report 2016, How Are Canadians Really Doing?
Retrieved From: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/the-2016-canadian-index-of-wellbeing-national-report-how-are-canadians-really-doing/

In 2017, the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association points to lagging incomes, rising house-price-to-income ratios and tightening mortgage rules as factors determining affordability. They call for regional solutions to address root causes of affordability issues; an emphasis on smart renovations; and supporting those in housing need through innovations such as a portable housing benefit.

Source: Continuing the Conversation about Homes, Communities and Canadians – 2017 Recommendations on the Federal Role.
Retrieved From:  http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/continuing-the-conversation-about-homes-communities-and-canadians-2017-recommendations-on-the-federal-role/

Spending 30% of Income on Housing and Shelter

This measure speaks to the affordability of housing related to household earnings. It is generally discouraged by mortgage lenders that individuals spend 30% or more of their household income on housing, as it will create financial difficulties.

Statistics from the 2016 census show that one in four Canadians spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs.

When a household is spending 30% or more of their income on rent, it is an indicator of affordability, poverty, and it can lead to homelessness.  The following table shows the rate (per cent) of renter-households in the 12 local areas of the Niagara region that are paying 30% or more of household income on rent, for 2011 and 2016.


Municipality Per cent of renter-households paying 30% or more of income on rent, 2011 Per cent of renter-households paying 30% or more of income on rent, 2016
Fort Erie 43 48.8
Grimsby 41 41.6
Lincoln 41 36
Niagara Falls 42 47.5
Niagara-on-the-Lake 36 40.7
Pelham 44 44.6
Port Colborne 45 49.2
St. Catharines 44 50.4
Thorold 44 50.7
Wainfleet n/a 21.4
Welland 48 47.8
West Lincoln 31 27.3
Source: http://rentalhousingindex.ca/# 2011 Statistics Canada census data. Source: Statistics Canada. Rate of unaffordable housing, renter-households, 2016

Retrieved from: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/chn-biml/index-eng.cfm

Average Market Rent

Average Market Rent

Source:  CMHC Housing Information Portal
Retrieved From:  https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/hmiportal/en/#Profile/1/1/Canada

Average Monthly Rent Trends

The following data is taken from the annual CMHC Rental Market Survey. It is based on the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA (does not include Grimsby and West Lincoln).  The table illustrates yearly trends in average monthly rent by bedroom type.

2014 2015 2016
Bachelor $586 $613 $634
One bedroom $745 $765 $802
Two bedroom $892 $909 $958
Three or more bedrooms $1,014 $1,026 $1,105
Average rent across all bedroom types $839 $860 $904


Source for 2016 figures: “Rental Market Report: St. Catharines-Niagara CMA”. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 2016. Retrieved from: https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/catalog/productDetail.cfm?lang=en&cat=79&itm=35&fr=1482175656657

Source for 2014 and 2015 figures: “Rental Market Report: St. Catharines-Niagara CMA”. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Fall 2015. Retrieved from: https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/catalog/productDetail.cfm?lang=en&cat=79&itm=35&fr=1482175656657

Purchase Price of a Home in Niagara

The Niagara Association of Realtors (NAR) reported significant growth in the number and value for property sales from 2016 to 2017.

In June 2017, the NAR reported 785 property sales processed through the MLS system, a 22.28% decrease in sales compared to June 2016.

Additionally, the residential average sale price of $457,456 was 34.08% higher than last June.

The average days on market decreased from 40 to 23 in the residential freehold market, and decreased from 114 to 22 in the condominium market.

Source: The Canadian Real Estate Association. Niagara Association of Realtors June Market Report.
Retrieved from: http://creastats.crea.ca/stca/

Market Absorption Rate

This measure helps to provide a comprehensive picture of housing availability and the rate at which housing is being used and bought in Niagara, as well as needs to be met in the housing market.

Investopedia defines absorption rate as:
“the rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period. It is calculated by dividing the total number of available homes by the average number of sales per month. The figure shows how many months it will take to exhaust the supply of homes on the market. A high absorption rate may indicate that the supply of available homes will shrink rapidly, increasing the odds that a homeowner will sell a piece of property in a shorter period of time.”

Source: Investopedia
Retrieved From: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/absorption-rate.asp

The following table shows market absorption rate in the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA, ranging from April 2014 to September 2014.

City Active Listings Sales Last 6 Mths Avg. No. Sales per Mth. Months of Inventory
Welland 281 450 75 4
Port Colborne/ Wainfleet 195 201 33.5 6
Thorold 107 156 26 4.1
St. Catharines 606 1145 191 3.2
Fort Erie 455 375 63 7
Fonthill/ Pelham 139 147 25 6
Niagara Falls 571 787 131 4.4
Niagara-on-the-Lake 263 213 36 7.4
Lincoln 114 208 35 3.3
West Lincoln 38 34 6 6.7


Source:  Pilato, E., 2014, Market Absorption Rates in Niagara.
Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/2Brcnx6

New Housing Price Index (NHPI)

According to Statistics Canada, the New Housing Price Index (NHPI), “measures changes over time in the contractors’ selling prices of new residential houses, where detailed specifications pertaining to each house remain the same between two consecutive periods.” NHPI was 100 for all markets in 2007 (the year of reference).

New Housing Price Index St. Catharines Niagara

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016. CANSIM Table 327-0046 [Data file]
Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/2zviSh7

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