During the last municipal election campaign, councillors heard that there was a lot of support for affordable housing. Responding to this, the Town’s budget now has a line item of $250,000 to support housing even though it’s really a county responsibility. There are two ways people provide housing for themselves: renting and buying a house, and both are a concern. The rental vacancy rate in Cobourg is 0.3% and the average price of a home in Cobourg is now $455,000, up from $300,000 just four years ago. According to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, “affordable” rents must be no more than 80% of average market rents. In Northumberland in 2018, the average rent for a two bedroom apartment was $1044 so the maximum “affordable rent” for these units would be $835.
Let’s look at the details.
The vacancy rate number comes from a CMHC survey dated October 2018. The 0.3% number applies to all sizes and types – from “row” housing to apartments and from bachelor to 3+ bedrooms. For just apartments, the vacancy rate is 0.4% and for two bedroom apartments it’s 0.2%. See Link below.
There are two requests currently being considered by Council for assistance:
- Trinity Housing wants a grant of $233,826, a loan of up to $400,000 and a possible guarantee of a loan from CMHC of up to $350,000. They have already said that the Town’s $250,000 budget is not enough.
- Balder Corporation wants support from the Town by way of concessions or waivers of taxes/fees – they don’t specify an amount.
Although prices are higher than they were, they seem to be stabilizing at current levels. The local Real Estate board that covers West Northumberland says that the average price has not gone up because fewer high end homes are being sold. The number of sales is actually increasing and getting back to normal levels which indicates less resistance to the higher prices.
The graph below shows the price trend for the last 10 years.
- Ontario CMHC Rental Market Statistics
- Northumberland West Realtor monthly report
- Trinity Housing request – 17 Jan 2019
- Balder Corporation request – 13 Feb 2019