Waterloo Region: A Housing Overview

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1 Waterloo Region: A Housing Overview 2013 This Housing Overview provides the community with a common reference point on the state of housing within Waterloo Region from which a conversation on housing needs and barriers can begin.

2 This document can be cited using the following citation: The Regional Municipality of Waterloo. (2013). Waterloo Region: A Housing Overview. Kitchener, Ontario

3 Contents Contents... ii List of Figures... iii List of Tables... iii 1. INTRODUCTION... 1 About this Document POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS... 3 Our Population is Growing Our Population will Continue to Grow... 5 Our Population is Aging HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS CURRENT HOUSING PICTURE... 8 Housing Type and Building Activity... 8 Housing Tenure Ownership Housing Rental Housing Community Housing HOUSING AFFORDABILITY SPOTLIGHT ON Seniors (65+) Aboriginal Persons Persons with Disabilities Victims of Domestic Violence CONTACT US DOCS# Page ii

4 List of Figures Figure 1 Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas by Population, Figure 2 Waterloo Region Long term Population Growth, igure 3 Twenty Year Forecast Population Growth, Figure 4 Population Growth for Youth, Working Age and Seniors, 2006 and 2011, and Forecast Figure 5 Total Number of Households and Average Number of People per Household, Figure 6 Housing Types by Townships and Cities... 8 Figure 7 New Residential Units by Structure Type (Ten Years)... 9 Figure 8 Number of Renter and Owner Households in Region ( ) Figure 9 Housing Prices and Mortgage Rates ( ) Figure 10 Historic Average Rents, Vacancy Rates, and Unemployment Rates in Figure 11 Waterloo Region Housing Affordability Continuum Figure 12 Average Shelter Cost, Figure 13 Number of Households Paying 30 per cent of Income to Shelter Figure 14 Affordability for Lowest Income Households (2012) List of Tables Table 1 Price Increases, Ownership Market, 1992, 2001, 2002, Table 2 Average Market Rents, Table 3 Available Units under Various Programs DOCS# Page iii

5 1. INTRODUCTION The Region of Waterloo (the Region) is developing, with the support and input from the community, a new Community Action Plan for Housing People with Low to Moderate Incomes (Housing Action Plan). Ontario s new Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS) requires municipalities to develop 10-year plans to address local housing and homelessness needs. The new Housing Action Plan, in conjunction with other Regional initiatives, will work to realize the larger vision of the community, as stated in the Region s Official Plan: Waterloo Region will be an inclusive, thriving and sustainable community committed to maintaining harmony between rural and urban areas and fostering opportunities for current and future generations. Waterloo Region also needs to be a liveable region that is well-designed, accommodates people at all stages of life, offers a variety of employment opportunities and provides easy access to shopping, health care, a range of housing including affordable housing, educational, recreational and other services to meet daily needs. A liveable region is one that contains integrated, compact, mixed-use communities with distinct senses of place and character that provide people with choices about where they live, work and play. The Housing Action Plan, along with other Regional initiatives, must take into consideration, and incorporate wherever possible, actions that work to achieve Waterloo Region s vision for a sustainable and liveable region, including those that encourage compact growth, the integration of a broader transit focus (including Rapid Transit), and initiatives that work to preserve and protect the Region s environmental and agricultural systems. The new Housing Action Plan will encompass actions that will contribute to the Region s vision, working to address community-identified housing needs and barriers, covering both rental and ownership market housing for households with low to moderate incomes. In addition, the Housing Action Plan will provide affordable housing targets for the Region and Area Municipalities, and identify actions that may lead to new affordable housing programs or revisions to current programs to better address housing issues in the community. Issues around homelessness are being addressed through All Roads Lead to Home: the Homelessness to Housing Stability Strategy for Waterloo Region (the strategy). This strategy encompasses actions ranging from the prevention of housing loss to systemic approaches to ending homelessness in Waterloo Region. Together these documents will address the requirements set out in the new LTAHS and satisfy other legislative requirements as described in the Provincial Policy Statement, the Ontario Housing Policy Statement and the Region s Official Plan. DOCS# Page 1

6 About this Document The Region is required under the LTAHS to undertake a comprehensive planning exercise to create the new Housing Action Plan. Part of this exercise involves an assessment of the current housing environment, and to identify housing needs and barriers that exist now and could develop in the future. This Housing Overview provides the community with a common reference point on the state of housing within Waterloo Region where a conversation on housing needs and barriers can begin within the community. The Housing Overview provides information on Waterloo Region s: Population characteristics Household characteristics Current housing picture Housing affordability It also includes information on provincially identified priority groups, including: Seniors (65+) Aboriginal Persons Persons with disabilities Victims of domestic violence Waterloo Region: A Housing Overview is the first of several documents that will inform the Housing Action Plan. DOCS# Page 2

7 2. POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS Our Population is Growing. As of 2011, Waterloo Region was home to 507,096 people, a 6.1 per cent increase from 2006, exceeding the provincial and national growth rates of 5.7 and 5.9 per cent, according to the Census of Canada. This reflects an increase of 28,975 people over a 5-year time period, or just under an average of 6,000 people per year. The Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo area was the 10 th largest metropolitan area in Canada, as shown in Figure 1, and the fourth largest in Ontario. Figure 1 Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas by Population, 2011 Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census by Census Metroplitan Area (CMA) Note: The Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo CMA does not include the Townships of Wilmot or Wellesley This growth is a continuation of a longer-term trend. Over the past thirty years, Waterloo Region s population has steadily increased from just over 305,000 people, as displayed in Figure 2, with consistent growth in all areas of the Region. DOCS# Page 3

8 Figure 2 Waterloo Region Long-term Population Growth, Source: Statistics Canada, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 Census In addition to the regular population, Waterloo Region is characterized by a large number of people who live temporarily in the Region, typically to study at its post-secondary institutions. While these residents are not a part of the Region s usual population, their housing requirements influence the form of building that is visible in our community. The total population at year-end 2011, including students, other temporary residents, as well as an estimate of those who were missed in the Census, was approximately 553,000. DOCS# Page 4

9 Our Population will Continue to Grow Waterloo Region s population is forecasted to grow by approximately 200,000 people by This represents a greater 20-year growth than the previous 20 years, and, as shown in Figure 3, is largely influenced by the aging of the baby-boom generation who are currently 45 to 65 years of age, as well as population growth due to a forecast increase in migration to the Region. Figure 3 Twenty Year Forecast Population Growth, Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census; and Planning Information and Research, Region of Waterloo As Waterloo Region s population continues to grow and diversify, we must consider the impact on housing needs, and plan accordingly to ensure a sufficient supply and range of housing is available. Our Population is Aging In 2011, the largest segment of the Region s population were those in their early working years, aged 15 to 39, which comprised 36 per cent of the population, or 180,635 people. However, the fastest growing segment were seniors aged 65+, which increased 13 per cent from 55,635 in 2006 to 62,590 in 2011, as shown in Figure 4. DOCS# Page 5

10 Figure 4 Population Growth for Youth, Working Age and Seniors, 2006 and 2011, and Forecast 2031 Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 and 2011 Census; and Planning Information and Research, Region of Waterloo The growth in seniors aged 65 and older is forecasted to continue, and at an increased rate, more than doubling over the next 20 years, from 62,590 to 129,725 by This rapid growth, combined with a lower growth rate for those 0-14 years old, will create, for the first time, a population in Waterloo Region where there are more people 65+ than under the age of 15. As the age of the population shifts, we must consider the role age plays in the type and range of housing required for different segments of the population. DOCS# Page 6

11 3. HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS According to the 2011 Census, there were 191,595 households in Waterloo Region, 19 per cent more than the 161,120 households in The rate of household formation outpaces population growth which was 15 per cent over the same 10 year period, and is the result of a trend towards smaller households. The decline in household size is largely attributed to increasing divorce and separation, lower fertility rates, later-life marriages, empty-nester households, and other lifestyle choices. The average household size continues to decrease in Waterloo Region, down to 2.61 in 2011 from 2.69 in 2001, and varies by municipality as shown in Figure 5. Figure 5 Total Number of Households and Average Number of People per Household, 2011 Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Cenus by Census Subdivision One and two-person households were the fastest growing size of household in the Region, with over 10,000 new households between 2006 and 2011, accounting for 75 per cent of the 13,595 new households over those five years. One-person households had the highest per cent increase, at 12 per cent growth in the same period. This will impact the type and range of housing needed in the future. DOCS# Page 7

12 4. CURRENT HOUSING PICTURE Housing Type and Building Activity The housing mix in Waterloo Region in 2011 consisted primarily of single detached dwellings (57 per cent), apartments (25 per cent) and semi-detached dwellings and townhouses (18 per cent). The mix of housing types differs between the cities and townships. Housing types are less diversified in the townships, with 80 per cent being single detached, whereas the cities have a broader mix of housing types, as shown in Figure 7. Figure 6 Housing Types by Townships and Cities Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census While single-detached dwellings made up the largest share of dwellings by type in 2011, the form of dwellings being constructed has continued to evolve. Over the long term, the percentage of single detached units constructed per year has fallen from a peak of 73 per cent of total units built in 2002 to 39 per cent in 2012, with a corresponding shift to higher-density housing types as shown in Figure 7. DOCS# Page 8

13 Figure 7 New Residential Units by Structure Type (Ten Years) Source: Planning Information and Research, Region of Waterloo, 2012 Building Permit Activity and Growth Monitoring report Similarly, a shift in the location of building activity has been occuring. Recent statistics show that the number of units constructed in reurbanization areas was 48 per cent of all residential units constructed in Waterloo Region in 2012, and accounted for 1,669 units. Developing within the built up area provides a focus for transit and infrastructure investments, and allows the Region of Waterloo to ensure the development of healthy, safe and balanced communities. DOCS# Page 9

14 Housing Tenure The number of owner-occupied households in Waterloo Region has been rising steadily per year since 1991, at an average rate of 14.5 per cent over each five year period to Over the same time period, the number of households which are renter-occupied has remained relatively flat, at an average 5-year rate of only 1.5 per cent, as illustrated in Figure 8. As of 2006, the last year for which Census data is available, there were 48,240 renter households, representing almost 30 per cent of all households. This 30:70 ratio of renter to owner-occupied households in Waterloo Region is higher than the 28:72 ratio for Ontario. Figure 8 Number of Renter and Owner Households in Region ( ) Source: CMHC Census Based Housing Indicators and Data (Statistics Canada, 1991, 1996, 2001,and 2006 Census). Please note that the 2011 Census data on housing tenure will not be available until September Ownership Housing With the exception of the recession in the early 1990s and the economic downturn of 2008, housing prices for both new and resale single detached homes have continued to rise. In 2011, a new single detached home cost, on average, $394,169. Resale homes in the Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo real estate board areas cost, on average, $271,586 and $353,888 respectively. Mortgage rates have experienced the opposite trend, declining 32 per cent over the past 10 year period, from about seven per cent in 2002 to four and a half per cent in 2011 for a five-year fixed rate mortgage. DOCS# Page 10

15 Figure 9 Housing Prices and Mortgage Rates ( ) Source: CMHC ( ), Bank of Canada (2011), Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS ( ), Cambridge Association of REALTORS ( ) New home prices have gained significant momentum rising 72 per cent over the past 10 year period ( ). During the previous 10 year period ( ), new home prices increased slower, at 12 per cent. The same pattern is seen in resale homes in both Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo. Table 1 Price Increases, Ownership Market, 1992, 2001, 2002, 2011 Increase Increase (%) (%) New Home Prices KW $204,866 $228,469 12% $229,102 $394,169 72% Resale KW $152,965 $185,352 22% $198,268 $353,888 78% Resale Cambridge $136,545 $167,168 21% $178,714 $271,014 52% Source: CMHC ( ), Bank of Canada (2011), Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS ( ), Cambridge Association of REALTORS ( ) Rental Housing Average market rents for bachelor, one, two and three bedroom apartments have seen consistent increases over the past 10 years, at an average increase of two per cent per year. A significant rise in DOCS# Page 11

16 average rent occured in bachelor units, rising 25 per cent over the past decade from $517 in 2003 to $644 in 2012 (Table 2) Table 2 Average Market Rents, Increase (%) Bacheler $517 $644 25% 1 Bedroom $646 $753 17% 2 Bedroom $754 $908 20% 3 Bedroom $943 $1,053 12% Source: CMHC Rental Market Report for KCW and Guelph CMA Change in vacancy rates tend to follow the economic climate. During periods of higher unemployment vacancy rates are higher as less individuals and couples are able to start a new household. Figure 10 Historic Average Rents, Vacancy Rates, and Unemployment Rates in Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW) CMA ( ) Source: CMHC Rental Market Report for KCW and Guelph CMA and StatsCan Labour Force Survey Over the past ten years, average rents have kept pace with inflation. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment increased by 19.4 per cent between 2003 and 2012, while the Consumer Price Index increased by 19.7 per cent. DOCS# Page 12

17 Waterloo Region has experienced relatively low vacancy rates averaging 2.4 per cent for 2 bedroom apartments over the past 20 years. A three per cent vacancy rate is generally considered the target for a healthy rental market. Lower vacancy rates indicates higher demand for apartment units, which adds pressure to rent increases. Community Housing Community Housing provides a range of affordable housing options for people who have low to moderate income. It is delivered by various Housing Providers, including the Region of Waterloo under a number of programs. Waterloo Region has approximately 9,800 Community Housing units that are either owned or overseen by the Region of Waterloo. These units are located across the Region in both the cities and townships, in the downtowns and suburban areas. These units include: Table 3 - Available Units under Various Programs Number of Units Waterloo Regional Housing Units 2,722 Cooperative and Non-Profits Units 4,671 Rent Supplement Units 791 New Rental Units Under the Affordable Housing Strategy 1,322 Affordable Home Ownership Units 288 Source: Planning, Housing and Community Services, Region of Waterloo The Region s Community Housing Access Centre (CHAC) coordinates the application process and waiting lists for Community Housing providers. Households apply through CHAC (or other access sites) and have access to all of Waterloo Region s Community Housing. The demand for Community Housing has remained stable over the past five years, averaging at 3,059 applicants annually from 2008 to DOCS# Page 13

18 5. HOUSING AFFORDABILITY Having a full range of housing options to meet the needs of all residents is a key contributor to maintaining a high quality of life, a vibrant local economy and a healthy community. Figure 11 - Waterloo Region Housing Affordability Continuum Sources: StatsCan Income tables, CMHC Rental Market Report, KW and Cambridge Association of Realtors, CMHC Mortgage Payment Calculator, Rent calculated at 30% of monthly income The average monthly shelter cost for all households in Waterloo Region has increased 34 per cent over the past 10 years, from $773 in 1996 to $1033 in The average shelter cost has increased faster for home owners, at 32 per cent, and slower for renters, at 27 per cent. DOCS# Page 14

19 Figure 12 - Average Shelter Cost, Source: CMHC Census Based Housing Indicators and Data (Statistics Canada, 1996, and 2006 Census) To be considered affordable, a household should spend no more than 30 per cent of its income towards shelter costs. Beyond this, shelter costs begin to impede on a household s ability to pay for other necessities of life, including food, transportation and clothing. Figure 13 - Number of Households Paying 30 per cent of Income to Shelter Source: CMHC Census Based Housing Indicators and Data (Statistics Canada, 1996, and 2006 Census) Please note that the 2011 Census data on affordability will not be available until September DOCS# Page 15

20 In 2006, 20 per cent (33,710) of all households spent 30 per cent or more on shelter costs. Those with greater housing affordability needs are those households spending 50 per cent or more of their income towards housing costs. Just over 7,000 households (five per cent) spent half of their income on shelter costs. Households with severe affordability issues are at higher risk of losing their housing. Households with the lowest incomes (those on Ontario Works [OW], Ontario Disability Support Payments [ODSP], seniors on fixed incomes and those earning minimum wage) are at the greatest risk of experiencing housing affordability issues. The following table shows that the average market rent (AMR) is much higher than what most low income households can afford. Figure 14 - Affordability for Lowest Income Households (2012) Source: CMHC Fall 2012 Rental Market Report for KWC and Guelph CMA, Ministry of Community and Social Services Ontario Works Policy Directive and Ministry of Community and Social Services Ontario Disability Support Payment Income Support Directive, Service Canada Canada Pension Plan Payment Amounts The above table demonstrates that in only five out of 18 instances could a lowest income household afford the average market rent in Waterloo Region. Low incomes and insufficient shelter allowances from OW and ODSP, combined with the high cost of housing are two contributing factors to housing affordability issues for lower income households. DOCS# Page 16

21 6. SPOTLIGHT ON The regulations of the Housing Services Act (HSA) require that the Region of Waterloo reflect community integration and diversity by meeting the needs of people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, Aboriginal people s living off-reserve, and other locally defined groups. Within Waterloo Region, seniors 65 and older have been identified as another priority group. The province has committed to helping these identified groups through the HSA as well as through the Ontario Housing Policy Statement. The following spotlights provide information on these segments of our population. Seniors (65+) Seniors represented 18 per cent of all households in 2006 (30,655), a rate that has remained steady since The monthly shelter costs for seniors has increased 42 per cent over the 10 year period, from $467 in 1996 to $663 in This increase is higher than the increase for all households during the same time period (34 per cent). Housing tenure for seniors closely reflects that of all households in Waterloo Region. Senior owners represent 74 per cent of all senior households (compared to 70 per cent of all households) while senior renters make up 26 per cent of all senior households (compared to 30 per cent of all households). There has been an increase in the number of seniors households paying 30 per cent or more of their income towards housing, rising to 25 per cent of all senior households in 2006 from 22 per cent in Compared to all households, seniors have a greater rate of households paying 30 per cent or more (20 per cent for all households, 25 per cent for senior households). Seniors represent 10 per cent of all households waiting for housing on the Community Housing Access Centre Waitlist. Seniors wait on average one to two years for placement in Community Housing, one of the lowest wait times. Just over 1,600 Community Housing units (17 per cent) are dedicated to seniors. It is important to note that housing needs for seniors varies depending on their age and level of independence. Aboriginal Persons In 2006, there were nearly 5000 Aboriginal persons residing in Waterloo Region, an increase of 44 per cent from the 3340 in While Aboriginal households constitute only 1.5 per cent of all households in the Region, the rate of growth in the number of Aboriginal households has risen 124 per cent over the past decade, from 1,120 in 1996, to 2,510 in DOCS# Page 17

22 Housing tenure amongst Aboriginal households sees a fairly even split, with 51 per cent being owner households and 49 per cent being renters. There has been a slight increase in owner households over the past 10 years along with a slight decrease in the number of rental households over the same time period. The number of Aboriginal households paying 30 per cent or more of their income towards shelter costs has increased to 600 households, or 24 per cent of all Aboriginal households (as compared to 20 per cent of all households in Waterloo Region). This is a 103 per cent increase from the 295 households in Persons with Disabilities Persons with disabilities are those who reported difficulties with daily living activities, or who indicated that a physical, mental or health problem reduced the kind or amount of activities they could do. In 2006, seven per cent of the population reported having a disability, down from 10 per cent in Of those living with a disability, 10 per cent have been identified as having low income status. Low income status is defined using Statistics Canada s before tax Low Income Cut-offs (LICOs), a relative measure of income status. LICOs convey the income level at which individuals and families may be in straitened circumstances and are expected to spend at least 20 per cent more of their before tax income on basics such as food, clothing and shelter, compared with the average. Victims of Domestic Violence The Housing Services Act requires the Region of Waterloo to set out how the housing needs of victims of domestic violence will be addressed and managed locally. This section reviews the rate of occurance of police reported domestic violence and the number of victims of domestic violence on the Community Housing waiting list. According to Family Violence in Canada A Statistical Profile 1, Waterloo Region has a relatively low rate of occurance of domestic violence, with less than 1 per cent of the population reporting domestic violence to the police in 2010, comparable to the provincial average. Of the 1,265 reported occurances, 78 per cent were reported by women and 22 per cent were reported by men. Over the past five years, victims of domestic violence have represented, on average, six per cent of all new applications received by the Community Housing Access Centre. Victims of domestic violence get special priority status on the waiting list and get an automatic offer. Other special priority groups are terminally ill persons and Sunnyside applicants. 1 Sinha, Maire Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, Juristat. Released May 22, Statistics Canada Catalogue No x DOCS# Page 18

23 CONTACT US Waterloo Region: A Housing Overview is the first of several documents that will inform the updated Housing Action Plan. WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU: Is the information in this document useful to you? Have you found any of this information surprising? What does this information tell you? What other housing information would you like to see? PLEASE CONTACT THE HOUSING ACTION PLAN PROJECT TEAM DOCS# Page 19

24 Waterloo Region: A Housing Overview 2013 Look for us Online at: Or use the following QR code for more information Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication at the time of writing (2013); however, the data cited are subject to change. DOCS# Page 20

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