In April, 2015, Guelph’s vacancy rate was the lowest seen in Ontario at an admirable 0.6 percent. Although this may seem to be great for investors and landlords in the area, many low income households are suffering.
Typically, housing is deemed affordable by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) if the household is paying less than 30 percent of their income before taxes. The current range of available Guelph rental units does not meet these guidelines for affordable housing, according to a newly released City report.
Guelph’s rental market is in need of smaller rental units, meaning one bedroom or bachelor apartments, to account for a lower income household and Guelph’s reduction in the average number of persons per unit. This lack of available smaller housing is causing families to seek larger units with higher rental rates and spend beyond their affordable limit.
As affordable rental housing is becoming a large issue within Guelph, the City of Guelph is aiming to finalize an affordable housing strategy before the summer. You can read more about this issue and its effects in the Guelph Tribune’s article found below.
If you are searching for a 1 bedroom apartment, we currently have a few options for you. Please contact our office for further details about these units at 519-515-0411 x 228.
Low income families challenged by Guelph’s low vacancy rate
Housing stock not meeting all of city’s affodability needs
Guelph Tribune By: Doug Hallett
Guelph’s extremely low rental vacancy rate is part of a challenging housing situation for low- and moderate-income households in the city, says a new city report.
Renting is generally more affordable than home ownership in Guelph, but renters are experiencing bigger challenges than homeowners, says the report, which is part of a city hall effort to finalize an affordable housing strategy before next summer.
“Rental households face a greater challenge in finding housing given the city’s vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent (as of April 2015), which is the lowest in Ontario and . . . well below a widely accepted balanced and healthy vacancy rate of three per cent,” the report says.
In general, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation considers housing to be affordable if it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s pre-tax income. While 20 per cent of ownership from front page households in Guelph have been spending over 30 per cent of their household income on housing, 41 per cent of rental households have been above the affordability threshold.
The report, which goes to council’s infrastructure, development and enterprise committee today (Oct. 6), says the range of housing options available in Guelph is not fully meeting the affordability needs of low- and moderate-income households.
“The potential involvement of the city in financially incenting the creation of affordable housing across the full continuum will be reviewed” next year once the affordable housing strategy is finalized, the report says.
The approaches that the city comes up with for “addressing affordable housing issues on the market end of the continuum” will complement non-market strategies contained in the approved Guelph and Wellington 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, it says. “This review will provide direction to the future of the city’s affordable housing reserve, which has historically been used to support the creation of affordable market and non-market housing.”
The local market hasn’t been produced enough smaller housing units – bachelor and one-bedroom units – to meet the needs of smaller households in Guelph, the report says.
One-person households have been the fastest growing household type in the city over the past 15 years, accounting for one-quarter of all household types and 43 per cent of all renter households. The number of persons per household is also shrinking in Guelph, furthering the need for smaller housing units.
“A comparison of the city’s current housing supply with the number of bedrooms required by a household shows an insufficient number of smaller units for today’s smaller households, which means households need to seek out larger units which may result in affordability challenges,” the report says.
On the non-market side, no new social housing units have been created locally since 1995, and, as of the end of 2014, there were 881 Guelph households on the rent-geared-to-income waiting list for social housing units, the report says. Social housing in Guelph and Wellington County is administered by the county and financed on a cost-sharing basis.
Within Guelph, about 96% of the housing supply is market housing – 65% ownership and 31% rental, the report says. This leaves four per cent as non-market housing, which includes social housing and subsidized market housing, as well as emergency shelters, transitional housing and supportive housing.
On the positive side, overcrowding and the state of repair of the overall housing stock are not significant problems, the report says. And although the city’s targets for affordable rental housing haven’t been met, its annual affordable housing target for ownership housing – set at 27% of new residential development – has been met over the past five years.
The rental market consists of “primary” market units and “secondary” market units, and it’s in the primary market that the city’s vacancy rate was down to 0.6% in April.
The primary rental market includes buildings containing three or more units specifically developed for the rental market, typically apartment and townhouse units.
Secondary rental market units include accessory apartments, rented condominiums and other housing units rented out by the owner of the unit.
In recent years, the city has generally exceeded its target for creation of at least 90 accessory apartments, which are generally created in houses by their owners.
An average of 117 registered accessory apartments were created since 1995, and that rose to an average of 145 accessory apartments being registered annually from 2009 to 2013, the report says.
The secondary rental market provides choice of affordable dwelling types, but the supply is “not as secure” as the primary rental market, the report says.
It says the secondary rental market accounts for about 45 per cent of Guelph’s rental housing stock.