City of Weyburn. Housing Need and Demand Assessment. Prepared By:

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1 City of Weyburn Housing Need and Demand Assessment Prepared By:

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary Section 1: Development Determinants and Housing Affordability Guidelines... 3 The Housing Continuum & the Role of the Municipality... 5 Affordability among Key Demographic Groups... 7 Section 2: Community Profile Projected Population Growth Demographic Trends Labour Market Trends Economic Outlook Section 3: Community Development: Sustaining Growth with Appropriate Housing Supply Housing Market 1984 to New Home Market 2000 to Resale Market Rental Housing Market Neighbourhood Assessment Conclusion

3 Executive Summary The City of Weyburn contracted the Canadian Home Builders Association Saskatchewan to provide a Housing Need and Demand Assessment for the community as part of their efforts to guide appropriate community development and address challenges related to housing. Weyburn s population and economic growth potential have expanded rapidly in the past few years and this sudden expansion has put pressure on the housing and rental market. The Council s evaluation of the demographic changes in Weyburn is essential to providing a base for further planning and growth that efficiently meets the demands of a growing and prosperous community. Saskatchewan s communities have experienced rapid economic growth and population increases over the last few years as more industries invest in the province, providing employment opportunities and positive expectations for future prosperity. Many of these communities have experienced stagnant or decreasing population numbers in the years prior to the economic revival and as such, planning departments have not been prepared for the pressure economic growth places on infrastructure and housing. Communities like Weyburn no longer have available affordable housing and are racing to provide sufficient serviced lots to satisfy development needs. The result of decreased supply and increased demand in the market is a sudden and substantial increase in housing costs for houses of all varieties, ages and conditions. The number of suitable houses available to rent or purchase at modest prices has diminished, a situation that puts pressure on low to moderate income earners, students, seniors and others in need of affordable housing options. The lack of housing drives people out of communities and creates barriers to those interested in capitalizing on employment opportunities within communities. Without employees, businesses in growing communities suffer and economic activity decreases. As a mid-sized and growing city located in a region with prolific resource development potential, over the last five years, Weyburn has experienced the challenges related to sudden and substantive economic activity, including housing market shortages, increased housing costs, decreased vacancy rates and increased rental rates. In 2003, Weyburn s City Council commissioned a development plan for the community in order to guide their efforts to increase housing capacity, revitalize business inside the Central Business District and provide an attractive and vibrant community for residents, visitors and migrants coming to the City. The Weyburn Housing Need and Demand Assessment can provide a foundation of information from which to develop a housing plan that can assist the city to overcome its recent housing challenges. This assessment should provide a comprehensive perspective of how the housing market has evolved and provide projections on future changes and the impact these may have on housing. The information provided is an overview of current population and labour market research set in the context of a decade of growth and change. Any housing plan developed by the City needs to accommodate future changes and to this end, Council and administrators need to conduct continuous re-evaluations of any housing plan developed to determine if it is meeting demand. 2

4 Section 1: Development Determinants and Housing Affordability Guidelines Overview Efficient and effective community development and planning is essential to ensure that economic and population growth can be accommodated in a community while any associated pressures placed on housing availability and affordability are minimized. In order for City Planners to encourage development of appropriate housing types to meet demand, a standard framework within which various housing needs are defined and connected to characteristics of different demographic groups is helpful. Each community has a unique demographic profile and in order to relate this profile to housing consistently, standard development determinants are used for comparison. It is crucial for communities to study both the demographics of the community and the current housing stock in order to get a more comprehensive view of housing need and how best to help builders and developers address shortages. The Need and Demand Assessment for Weyburn provides information on current guidelines for housing affordability, perspective on how housing stock impacts on the overall economy and an overview of how housing stock is meeting demand and what housing options need more development focus. In order to capitalize on the opportunities presented by economic renewal in the region, Weyburn needs to provide an attractive environment to those who will participate in economic growth, raise families and contribute to a healthy, diverse and vibrant community. This section of the assessment will provide information on how demographics and housing supply are connected and on the factors that contribute to increased demand for different levels of housing. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides definitions for terms commonly used in housing assessment and guidelines to assess how different levels of housing affordability apply to various community demographic profiles. These and other guidelines outlined in this section can assist city planners in understanding housing in their communities. Understanding nationally standardized criteria for housing and affordability analysis is essential for establishing a framework within which communities can address their unique housing challenges. 3

5 Affordability Determinants Municipalities can play a role in guiding development within the community and surrounding areas. Provided that elected officials and administration understand how housing impacts economic stability and future growth, municipalities can plan to accommodate, support and encourage growth through various housing policies, incentives and programs. Changing demographics and population increases also require municipalities and housing stakeholders to consider the affordability and suitability of available housing options in their community. The following are a few important reference terms defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Statistics Canada that associations and housing organizations use to compare housing in different regions and municipalities. Average Shelter Costs: Average shelter costs refer to the total monthly shelter cost paid by the household for their dwelling. 1 For renters, these costs include rent and payments for utilities and other municipal services; for owners, these costs include mortgage payments, taxes, condominium fees and payments for utilities or other municipal services. 2 It is important to note that shelter costs refer to all costs associated with owning or renting housing and not just the per month rent or mortgage payments. According to CMHC guidelines, average shelter costs should not exceed 30 percent of total before-tax household income. The Shelter-Cost-to-Income Ratio (STIR) is the proportion of total before tax income spent on shelter and is calculated for each household by dividing total annual housing costs by total annual income. 3 Those communities where the overall average STIR is higher than 30 percent are considered to be less affordable. The average STIR and average affordability ratings (discussed in Section 3) are important benchmarks to evaluate community cost of living. Low Income Cut-offs: Statistics Canada established income thresholds for Canadian communities, based on their size, beneath which families are expected to devote a larger share of their income in order to provide for necessities such as housing, food and clothing. 4 Low income cut-off (LICO) calculations are estimated based on income thresholds at which families are expected to spend 20 percentage points or more on basic necessities. 5 According to Statistics Canada, those earning below the LICO are not considered to be in poverty, but because more of the household income is devoted to non-discretionary spending, they are considered to be living in straitened circumstances. 6 Housing Standards: CMHC has established standards for housing in relation to specific criteria. Acceptable housing is housing that is adequate in condition, suitable in size, and affordable relative to what is required by the resident in terms of family size and average income. 7 Adequate housing is housing that does not require any major repairs, according to residents ; 4

6 suitable housing is housing that has enough bedrooms to accommodate the size of resident households, as outlined by National Occupancy Standard requirements; and affordable housing is housing that costs less than 30% of before-tax household income. 8 Should housing fall below the standard set in these criteria, it may be deemed unacceptable for the resident. The Housing Continuum & the Role of the Municipality The housing continuum, as described by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, includes all housing options on a scale from social housing (which incorporates emergency and transitional shelter and subsidized housing) to market housing (which includes market rental housing and market priced ownership housing). 9 The value of market priced new, resale and rental housing is linked to the public s buying power, which in turn has an impact on the type of housing built by builders and developers in response to community demands. Without an adequate supply of housing at various price points, housing affordability for residents is adversely affected by population increases, particularly at the low to moderate price points. When housing supply is constrained, population growth will typically result in a surge in the need for affordable housing at two thresholds: first, the point at which the population increase occurs (demand-side pressure); and second, following the subsequent price increases in the housing market (supply-side pressure). Housing stakeholders and community planners should be engaged to ensure that sufficient housing is supplied so that current and potential residents remain in the community and have an opportunity to move up the housing continuum. The Housing Continuum Housing Continuum $0 $45,000 $52,000 $70,000 Social Housing Affordable Housing Entry-Level Housing Market Housing 5

7 Social Housing Social housing covers a wide variety of housing types and needs, all of which help those struggling to afford adequate housing. The intended market for social housing ranges from those in need of basic shelter and crisis housing to those in need of supported living housing options, such as low income households and persons with long term disabilities or addictions. Affordable Housing Affordable housing can be provided in various forms through a number of different support initiatives; however, any housing provided for this category must be attainable for those with incomes below the provincially established Maximum Income Limits (MIL) and the cost of units (whether rental or ownership) cannot exceed 30 percent of the household s annual income. Affordable housing may include supported or subsidized rental or ownership developments that are owned and/or managed by government, non-government organizations, community-based and/or faith-based groups, or private corporations. Often these units have received capital funding, land contributions, or other support from various levels of government. Government assistance has helped many of these housing providers maintain affordability despite fluctuating housing market prices. Developments that receive funding typically must remain affordable for a period of 10 to 15 years. Entry-Level Housing Entry-level housing includes units appropriate and attainable to first time home buyers and new entrants to the work force and generally attracts those individuals and families that earn a moderate income. Most entry-level housing is modest in size and located in neighborhoods with higher densities. The entry-level housing market facilitates ownership; however, entry-level rentals are also important within a community to accommodate those moderate income individuals and families not in a position to become homeowners. The typical housing types for new entry-level products are higher density dwellings, such as townhomes and condominiums, where costs are reduced because less land is required per unit. Market-Priced Housing Market housing includes housing of all types that can accommodate the demand for units among medium and high income earners on the open market. Most of these homes are purchased by higher income earners, and may be individuals, couples or families. Market housing comes in all forms including single-detached, semi-detached, townhouse and luxury condominiums. In many communities, builders and developers tend to focus their efforts on meeting the demand for units within this category due to the higher profit margins associated with selling market housing. Market housing, especially in new developments, provides greater returns to the city in return for expenses paid for lot servicing. 6

8 Affordability among Key Demographic Groups This section is intended to highlight some of the demographic groups that are characteristically noted to have differing housing needs based on their income or age. Some groups generally require one type of housing, such as affordable or entry-level, while other groups require various options or are transitioning from one level of the housing continuum to another. Seniors Retired seniors living on a fixed income are more susceptible to even slight price fluctuations. According to Service Canada, a single person with no other income can receive up to $1, a month from Canada Pension and Old Age Security, 30 percent of which is $355 per month. Those seniors who choose to move from owner-occupied single family residences to higher density housing with supports and services and fewer maintenance responsibilities need affordable rental and ownership options. Ideally, designated seniors housing or retirement communities will be located near hospitals, public transit and shopping centers in areas that are safe and encourage active community involvement. It should also be noted that many seniors today are healthier and more active upon retirement than has been the case in the past. Though they may wish to downsize, they may not yet require access to supports and services offered by assisted living seniors residences. Options are necessary to accommodate these seniors as well, including gated townhouse communities or condominiums. Depending on the level of savings and retirement income, seniors need access to various levels of housing on the continuum. Those in need of affordable housing options are usually more vulnerable to shortages. Students Where post-secondary educational institutions exist, so too does the need for appropriate affordable housing options for students. Appropriate options include student residences (owned and operated by educational institutions), secondary suites within existing dwelling units, and room and board or rent sharing single dwelling units or apartments. It should be noted that student housing is rarely occupied as permanent housing : the average degree or certificate program requires four or fewer years to complete, therefore, there will be a high turnover rate among student housing. Ideally, student housing options should be located near their educational institution and be relatively accessible to amenities such as grocery stores and retail areas as well as entertainment and employment options. Student housing that is situated in close proximity to educational facilities allows for ease of access to the campus and reduces the need to rely on private transportation to and from school. Students generally require affordable housing options. 7

9 New Entrants to the Workforce As new workers gain experience, their incomes typically increase as well. New entrants to the workforce require access to entry-level and affordable housing options that provide them with stability and permanency, allowing them to increase their earnings and move upwards on the housing continuum. There is a strong demand for housing among new workers that both meets their needs and allows them to gain a foothold in the housing market, whether by increasing their equity through homeownership or renting units that allow for a savings margin. With an estimated entry-level annual income of $25,000 to $35,000, the most these new entrants to the workforce should spend on housing and housing related costs is $625 to $800 per month (based on the 30 percent affordability threshold). On the housing continuum, these new workers fall under the affordable housing category. Low Income Categories In 2009, the Low Income Cut-off (LICO) in Weyburn for a household with two people was $21,672 after taxes. 10 This income group falls within the social housing or affordable housing category on the housing continuum and could afford to pay no more than $540 per month on housing and housing related costs. There are three main demographic groups that are most likely to be disproportionately represented in the LICO categories: families, Aboriginal and Métis persons, and new immigrants. Families: Statistics Canada data from 2006 indicates that out of 4,050 households in Weyburn, 610 reported annual incomes under $20,000, well within range of the LICO threshold. 11 In order to meet the recommended shelter cost-to-income ratio, this income category should spend no more than $500 per month on housing. However, families typically require more bedrooms for children and room for growth as their children get older, as well as proximity to amenities such as schools and grocery stores. Immigrants: Immigrant newcomers often earn under the LICO, but also require different services in order to assist them integrate into the community and to increase their earning potential. International immigrants may experience a number of barriers when attempting to access good jobs that can support them and allow them access to appropriate housing. This is reflected in higher percentages of new immigrants that have to pay over 30 percent of household income on housing. New immigrants need housing that is affordable to low income earners but that are suitable for larger families. Higher household densities may be the result of larger families, but may also result from attempts to reduce costs of living by residing with multiple or extended families. High household densities are not the solution to housing shortages or to the gap between income and cost of housing: more 8

10 needs to be done to increase the number of appropriate housing options for new immigrants. Aboriginals and Métis: Aboriginal demographics have similar household characteristics to immigrant households, with higher household densities and extended families living in one dwelling. Aboriginals characteristically need larger houses because of larger families but are also disproportionately represented in lower paid professions. While susceptible to the same disadvantages as immigrants, Aboriginals are fast becoming a recognized source of labour potential which increases the likelihood that more Aboriginal people will move to larger communities to take advantage of work opportunities. Affordable housing of adequate size is required to allow Aboriginals to settle permanently in these larger centers so that they may move up on the housing continuum. Young Professionals & Middle Income Earners Young professionals are typically recent entrants to the workforce. Often first-time home buyers, this group may be employed in careers with upward earning potential and have expanding household sizes. As their careers become more established, the likelihood that their entry-level housing will be upgraded to market priced housing increases. Intended as the first step into the housing market, entry-level housing may include mid-priced and medium density condominiums, townhouses and smaller and older resale homes in established neighbourhoods. These units are generally more affordable for new buyers that can only handle a modest down payment and wish to enter the housing market. Families with a combined household income close to the median income in Weyburn (around $50,000) are considered to be moderate income families. These households can afford to buy a house given a mortgage payment (and other household related expenses) of approximately $1,150 per month. For moderate income families, suitable housing means appropriate space for the size of family with no major repairs needed that would push them over the 30 percent affordability threshold in the long term. For a household with a $3,700 per month combined income, assuming approximately $100 per month in property tax and a down payment of $10,000, an attainable mortgage would be within the $200,000 range. 9

11 High Income Earners and Established Professionals Market priced houses are sold to the highest bidders on the open real estate market or rented to tenants able to afford rents set according to demand. These units include housing in new developments, existing resale homes, condominiums and townhouses and any rental units outside the range possible for other lower income categories. Due to increased demand, market housing in Weyburn is now priced to suit income demographics earning over $70,000 per year. Established professionals and high income earners are most able to buy what is provided by this level of the market. It should be noted that the value of market priced housing and rentals in relation to average income in a community is an excellent indicator of how current housing supply is able to meet demand. Sudden, unexpected or overwhelming increases in price may indicate serious shortages in the amount and quality of market housing provided. New market housing subdivisions are an essential component of a healthy community tax base. New houses and new developments contribute substantial tax revenue to the municipality which, when coupled with appropriate pricing for serviced lots, can help pay for more services and subsidize or support housing initiatives to meet demands for those in search of housing lower on the housing continuum. 10

12 Section 2: Community Profile Overview Part of the research conducted by the Association for this assessment is focused on population and income demographic changes as related to housing, as well as industry and labour market developments that contribute to housing challenges. Population data shows that Weyburn has grown significantly over very few years following a prolonged period of population stagnation or even contraction. Labour market research shows that the mining, oil and gas industries are top employers in the region and that these industries, as well as construction and trade based companies are continually searching for skilled employees to fill labour shortages in their expanding businesses. New population and labour market trends have put increased pressure on the current housing available in Weyburn and this pressure is not likely to ease in the near future. This section provides analysis of demographic and labour market trends for the province, the region and for the City of Weyburn. The demographic and labour force profiles for the community are connected to housing affordability statistics and to development determinants which provide explanations of how age, income and employment impact on housing supply and demand. In order to provide a relevant assessment of housing stock, knowledge of community composition and projections regarding future demographic shifts must be analyzed so that housing market statistics are put into context. Establishing a context within which demographic changes can be charted and explained is an essential step when building a useful Housing Business Plan. Accurate demographic predictions are great assets that ensure appropriate housing varieties are provided to strengthen a community and assist continued economic growth. 11

13 Projected Population Growth Saskatchewan s population is on the rise and many mid-sized communities in the province are experiencing growth at percentages equal to or greater than the provincial average. For the past decade, Weyburn s population accounted for around one percent of the provincial total and this has increased only slightly to 1.1 percent in However, because Saskatchewan s overall population is on an upward trend, even this small percentage could mean a large population increase for Weyburn. The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce predicts that Saskatchewan s population could reach 1.5 million by 2030 and if Weyburn continues to hold a steady 1.1 percent of total population, the city could reach a population of 16,500 by This projection is a conservative estimate in relation to possible population growth projections for Weyburn because regions with resource-based industries are attracting more workers than the average. At less conservative, but still mid-level projections, Weyburn s growth statistics indicate that the community could reach 22,000 people by According to Saskatchewan Health Coverage data, the population of Weyburn in 2010 was 11,782, which is an 18 percent increase over the 2006, when then population was 9, Estimates based on the average increase of 3.8 percent per year (18 percent over four years) puts the City s population at 22,000 by The highest estimates, those based on the average of the percentage increases over the last four years, (5.65 percent per year) could see the population rise as high as 26,000 by These estimates are based on continual growth at the pace seen in the last four years and do not take into account any economic downturns or increases that could impact on population migration to the region. However, even by modest population growth, Weyburn could need 3,900 new housing units in the next 15 years, based on a 2.5 persons per house calculation. Weyburn is strategically located near major oil development areas and as more companies are drawn into the region, both permanent resident and temporary labourer populations will increase. Because there are some workers coming to the area on a temporary basis, actual population numbers may be different from the number of people looking for services and housing in Weyburn; therefore, calculations on population increase from the Saskatchewan Health Information Network statistics do not necessarily reflect the actual increase in need. Any housing need assessment done on the basis of Saskatchewan Health Coverage data is necessarily conservative rather than comprehensive. Additionally, the City is encouraging national and international interest in industrial and resource development in the area, which may result in more in-migration and further need for all types of housing, from homeownership to rental. 12

14 Demographic Trends Population growth trends are directly related to the economic performance within a province, region and municipality. In general, there are greater incentives for talented individuals to reside within a community where there are varied career opportunities. Therefore, the demographics of a community can be attributed to the education, employment and business opportunities that exist. However, without access to affordable, appropriate and adequate housing options, individuals and families are discouraged or even restricted from settling into a community regardless of opportunities available to them. Employment and career options in Weyburn are increasing, but the City s growth is currently being hampered by a limited supply and variety of housing stock. To maintain the current and projected growth of Weyburn s economy, an appropriate supply of adequate and attainable housing options is required to meet the community s needs. Demographics by Age While population statistics give an overall perspective of general need and opportunity in a municipality, the age breakdown of a community is also an important indicator of income and employment trends which are closely related to the need for different varieties of housing. There are different demographic groups that can be generally classified according to age: the demographic aged 20 to 24 years is most likely to be students and new workers earning less; those aged between 25 and 45 years are the young professionals and comprise a community s working core; those aged 45 to 55 comprise a unique sector, nearing retirement but still employed and less likely to have young, dependent children; those 55 and older comprise the senior population who work less and become more dependent on services provided for seniors as they age. Community demographics can also give a perspective on the number of smaller and school age children, which indicate the need for schools and parks in certain neighbourhoods and the number of families that comprise Weyburn s community. Students and New Entrants to the Workforce In 2010, Weyburn s 20 to 24 year old demographic was the third largest, with 818 people, up 26 percent from This demographic is most often comprised of post-secondary students and new entrants to the workforce and are in need of affordable rental units and smaller, entry-level owner-occupied homes. There is no designated housing available for students attending the Weyburn campus of the Southeast Regional College; therefore, students need to look in the community for affordable suites, especially shared accommodation and basement suites. In February, 2011, the provincial government announced $1.63 million in funding for expansion of the Southeast Regional College Weyburn Campus, which will add 86 percent more space and 13

15 more programs. 14 The program expansion occurs at an optimal time, when demand for skilled labour is high in the region; however, the program expansion will also bring in more people who are looking for suitable rental units in proximity to the school, that are affordable for a student budget and available for the duration of various programs as required. The current rental market in Weyburn is unable to accommodate those seeking affordable rental units unless supply is increased. New entrants to the workforce are finding opportunities to work in and around Weyburn, as indicated in the rise in the 20 to 24 year old category. According to Saskatchewan labour statistics, the number of 19 to 24 year olds in the labour force has increased since 2006 and the unemployment rate of this young demographic has dropped from 11.3 percent to 8.6 percent. 15 These new workers are typically employed in entry-level positions and therefore earn less than young professionals; these lower income earners are often in search of rental accommodation that will allow them to become established and potentially become homeowners. New workers are in demand in Weyburn, but many have difficulty finding available rental units at any price range or size. Businesses in the Weyburn area recruit young workers from other communities or provinces, but if there is no affordable housing available, many may leave for other communities where there are both work opportunities and adequate housing. Young Professionals The population demographic aged 25 to 45 is categorized as young professionals, typically with higher average household incomes and younger family members. If this demographic believes Weyburn provides both economic opportunities and desirable housing, they will be more likely to move to and settle in the City. Statistics show that between 2006 and 2010, population in this demographic increased 20 percent in Weyburn and it is the second largest demographic group in the community with 25 percent of total population. 16 Because this demographic comprises the working core of a community, a large percentage of young professionals indicates economic strength and low unemployment rates. Young professionals are typically skilled, educated and more experienced members of the workforce, often with middle to high middle income earning potential and higher household densities who are often able to purchase market priced housing that is available to moderate income earners. 17 Typical housing demand in this growing demographic group includes larger, entry-level, single family homes or rental units, based on their positive income earning potential and growing families, demand which developers can meet if given the opportunity to build. Currently, Weyburn intends to expand the number of serviced lots provided for new development: this trend needs to continue and increase if more young professionals and families are to be enticed to stay. As a group, young families are essential to active, vibrant and healthy communities and, as such, development of housing options for this demographic is important. Frequently, young professionals with young families are in search of starter homes which require a modest down 14

16 payment but that also provide security, are accessible to schools, parks and other amenities and do not require major renovations. Saskatchewan Health Population data indicates that population numbers for those aged under 14 years has risen 10 percent since 2006, with increased population in all age groups, from pre-k and school age children to junior high school students. 18 Based on these numbers, it can be assumed that families are moving to Weyburn or that young professionals have decided to permanently settle in Weyburn and start families. In order for these trends to continue, entry-level housing options provided close to schools should be encouraged. Seniors Seniors are a growing demographic in Canada and have also traditionally accounted for 25 percent of Saskatchewan s population. Those aged 65 years and older make up approximately 18 percent of Weyburn s total population, an increase of 10 percent since Many retired seniors have unique housing needs due to their fixed-income situation and frequently decide to downsize from single family dwellings to smaller, more manageable units. Often, retirees look to downsize and sell their single-family homes in exchange for condominiums or senior designated residences with varying levels of support services. For seniors without retirement savings, selling a single-family dwelling and downsizing to more affordable, multiple family housing is an option to increase their retirement income. However, without affordable units available to move into, more seniors may have to keep their homes until later in life. According to the Weyburn Housing Authority, which runs 197 senior housing units in the community, there is a five to six month wait for seniors social housing, which is available for seniors with income below a certain threshold. 20 These wait times may cause seniors to remain in their current housing which reduces the potential that more single family dwellings could become available for sale or rent. Although there is currently no urgent need to house a large demographic of retired seniors, the age demographic between 45 and 60 years comprises 20 percent of the population, who, over the next five to 10 years may decide to retire in the area. Long term planning for provision of seniors residences and services needs to incorporate these upcoming demographic shifts. Immigration and Provincial In-Migration Trends Statistics on immigrant population in Weyburn indicate that only a small percentage of the total provincial immigrant population lives in Weyburn. As of 2006, immigrants in Weyburn made up approximately 0.8 percent of Saskatchewan s total immigrant population and comprised 4.1 percent of Weyburn s total population. 21 The total percentage of immigrants in Weyburn actually declined from five percent in 1991; however, due to the labour shortage associated with increased industrial and mining activity in the region, more businesses are recruiting outside the province 15

17 and the country to find skilled labourers. Depending on the culture in their country of origin, immigrants often have unique household situations which include higher household densities and extended family arrangements. Upon arrival in Canada, immigrants generally begin employment in lower paid professions and live in higher density households in order to mitigate high housing costs. Settling into a new country is not an easy task and some will require additional support to locate housing as a first step to familiarizing them to their new country. This housing typically must be affordable or entry-level, large enough to accommodate extended families and with clear guidelines for home procurement and ownership. Cities that assist migrants in finding housing and appropriate employment are in a better position to encourage their effective integration and assist newcomers to access resources and economic opportunities in the community. Aboriginal Population Trends The population growth of Aboriginal people has steadily increased within Canada s urban centers over the past decade due to urban migration patterns. Saskatchewan and Manitoba currently share the largest proportion of Aboriginal population in the country and more Aboriginals are now living in and around urban municipalities. 22 According to the 2006 census, Weyburn has traditionally maintained around 0.2 percent of Saskatchewan s overall Aboriginal population, but these numbers are slowly on the rise. 23 The Aboriginal population comprises one of the largest, youngest and fastest growing demographic groups in Canada and is currently an untapped labour force with a great deal of potential. Municipalities that offer employment opportunities could see future increases in Aboriginal migration into their communities, which will present community planners with unique housing challenges. The Aboriginal community is characteristically comprised of a large demographic of 15 to 24 year olds and they frequently have larger families due to higher birthrates. 24 Aboriginal households also tend to have higher household densities than non-aboriginals, with approximately 3.6 persons per household compared to the 2.5 persons per household average for the rest of Canada. 25 In addition, the education gap between Aboriginals and non-aboriginals means a disproportionate number of Aboriginals are employed in the five lowest paying industries, meaning less income is available to devote to housing. In 2006, 21 percent of the Aboriginal population in Weyburn was aged 15 to 24, with 28 percent aged 25 to 34, meaning that almost half of the population is under the age of Out of the total Aboriginal population over the age of fifteen, the median earnings are $22,963 annually and 53 percent have no post-secondary education. 27 These discrepancies in age and education mean that their housing needs often fall in the affordable or assisted category on the housing continuum, but their options also need to include larger single family homes and rental units in order to prevent the tendency towards overcrowding. 16

18 Demographics by Income An assessment of current income and demographic data for Weyburn is essential to produce a viable housing strategy that addresses the needs of all residents in the community. Having adequate income to cover essential costs of living and secure appropriate housing is vital to attaining a higher quality of life. Age is also an essential factor when considering income in a community because each demographic characteristically has unique earning potential. As mentioned earlier, the young professional category comprises the working core of a community; therefore, this age demographic normally has increasing earning potential as they spend more time in the workforce. Conversely, seniors and students are most likely to have fixed incomes and be more sensitive to increases in the cost of housing, although students have the potential for increased earnings in the future whereas seniors likely do not. The Low Income Cut-off (LICO) for an individual in Weyburn is $17,409; for a double-income household, the cutoff is $21, The cost of available housing will have a greater impact on those earning less than $50,000: Weyburn s current housing options mean that even those earning twice the LICO level are less likely to attain suitable housing without experiencing financial hardship. The average household income is rising, both provincially and in the City of Weyburn. Statistics Canada census data for 2005 indicates that the provincial median annual earnings for a full-time employed person over the age of 15 was $35,948, and the household average income for the province in the same year was $46,705; comparatively, Weyburn in 2005 reported an individual median income of $38,975 and a household median income of $49, The income estimate for households in Weyburn for 2010 is $75,428, compared to the provincial median estimate of $68,682 for the same year. 30 The income breakdown from Statistics Canada for 2006 for individual income brackets indicates that the largest demographic earns over $70,000 annually; in the same year, only 610 households earned under $20,000 per year and almost 60 percent of households in Weyburn earned over $40,000 annually. 31 According to the income guidelines for division of housing options on the housing continuum, the majority of Weyburn residents earned enough in 2006 to afford entry-level housing with a large proportion of residents able to access market housing if it is made available. Currently, Weyburn has few options available for those in need of entry-level priced housing and rentals which, despite increased average earnings, still constitute a substantial portion of the population. 17

19 Labour Market Trends Labour force trends and shifts in available employment are essential factors contributing to the age and income demographics of people who are attracted to particular urban centers. Therefore, labour needs, as well as employment and education opportunities associated with economic performance in the Weyburn region, are linked to new demand patterns for housing. Different income levels associated with various employment opportunities also have an impact on housing need and demand. For this reason, an assessment of the labour force is required to provide a better understanding of why Weyburn s housing requirements have changed and may continue to change. The labour force and corresponding opportunities for employment in a community are essential components to constructing a housing plan that incorporates all housing varieties that community requires to meet need based on income level, earning potential and employment projections. Provincial Labour Force Trends Increased economic activity and investment in Saskatchewan has generated demand for employees which in turn has driven the population increase and put pressure on the housing market across the province. The severe labour shortages in skilled trades of 2008 eased slightly for 2009 as supply increased and competition for skilled labour from Alberta decreased. 32 Large infrastructure projects and construction demand in major urban centers has kept demand for skilled workers high, which pushes up wages and creates competition between communities to attract and keep skilled labourers. 33 Statistics from 2009 show that 29 trades, 80 percent of total trades, experienced labour shortages and eight of these industries reported severe shortages, meaning that local and adjacent markets had no qualified workers and recruitment efforts were hampered by extreme competition from other provincial markets. 34 Predictions for 2012 indicate that shortages will worsen as Saskatchewan s economy recovers from a brief slowdown during the recession and regains momentum, although the severe shortages of 2008 are not expected to recur

20 Saskatchewan expects to have 77,000 employment opportunities open from 2009 to 2014, 30 percent of which will be new jobs and 70 percent of which will come through attrition from retirement. 36 These positions can partially be filled by current residents, but these opportunities will draw in new residents from the rest of Canada and internationally. These new residents will need housing to suit their need, whether they are in search of rental units that provide stability in their transition to the province or in search of their first homes to settle in with their families. Many communities are experiencing housing shortages due to increased in-migration to regions with high economic activity and low unemployment rates; in order to remain competitive, those communities in need of workers must provide an environment that encourages employees to become permanent residents. Employers seeking skilled workers are concerned that current housing shortages will hamper recruitment efforts because new immigrants may be faced with greater difficulties securing adequate housing and have fewer options if adequate housing cannot be found immediately upon their arrival. Communities that ensure available housing options meet the demand of projected labour force increases will be in the best position to permanently retain the new workforce and leverage the growing economic base to build their communities. Regional Labour Market Trends Regional disparities in the supply of skilled workers have become more pronounced and those economic regions with extensive resource-based industry are most likely to experience severe labour shortages. The southeast region, with its extensive oil field, coal mines and trade activity, did not see a significant lessening of severe labour market shortages in 2009 as did other regions. The disparity between the regions was pronounced in this period: data shows a 47 percentage point difference between regions with the most shortages and those with the least in 2009; this difference was only 20 percentage points in In 2009, only Moose Jaw and the Southeast Enterprise Region saw shortages in at least 90 percent of trades, whereas in 2008, half the regions saw the same level of shortages. 38 Based on these trends, the southeast region can likely predict continued strong demand for skilled labour and may experience further shortages that could affect development and investment; recruitment efforts have increased and continue to do so, therefore housing development must continue to increase. 19

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