Housing in Cobourg, 2019

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.

Rentals

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.

House prices

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.

House Prices - February 2019
House Prices – February 2019

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Walter L. Luedtke

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.
“The longtime seniors’ housing provider who created Trinity Place in Cobourg is not the preferred choice to develop more affordable seniors’ housing in the town, according to a staff report to Northumberland County Councillors.
This is the second time a submission or proposed project from the church-based organization has been rejected by the county housing service in the past year or so.
Trinity’s submission was not even short listed in the four proposals seeking about $3.6-million in provincially-provided funding through Northumberland County.” Northumberland News
Should Council look into the reasons why County rejected Trinity Place twice?

gerinator

If “…is not the preferred choice to develop more affordable seniors’ housing in the town,,,” is an accurate statement by County, then which firms are preferable? and Why? I would think in the spirit of transparency Northumberland County Council would be forthcoming with this information. Should the Council chose not to provide this information then there would be no choice but to believe the deal is wired for another provider.