Study outlines housing challenges in Bruce County
February 6, 2023 3:47pm
A comprehensive Housing Demographic Study in Bruce County highlighted the need for housing diversity, affordability and accessibility.
It also found an aging and growing population in Bruce County is expected to aggravate the area’s housing challenges. The study, done by KPMG, confirmed Bruce Power initiatives are a major driver in regional employment growth, which influences housing demand in the county. The county continues to see a significant influx of people who are of working age and younger as well.
It showed the gap in housing supply is expected to grow. Bruce County’s population has grown 8.3 per cent since 2016 and is expected to reach 86,000 by 2046. Bruce County’s dwelling supply has only grown 4 per cent since 2016 as it sat at about 40,814 in 2021. Report authors KPMG suggested the county could increase supply through some higher density housing and appropriate land development in key areas. The study found 83 per cent of dwellings are single-detached houses.
“Staff worked closely with KPMG to ensure the framework, data collection, and final report represent the region and meet the needs of the County. The results of this demographic review will help Bruce County develop a meaningful sense of the housing market, an understanding of key housing issues, and the impact these issues have on the housing system,” said Manager of Housing Services Tania Dickson. “This report will drive Bruce County’s next Housing & Homelessness Plan and will also assist Planning & Development initiatives.”
In 2021, the average dwelling value was $807,000, an increase of 76 per cent since 2016. Forty-five per cent of renters spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing and 18 per cent of renters spend over 50 per cent of their income on housing. Bruce County’s aging population continues to highlight the importance of accessible housing units. And if people think about moving away from the lakeshore area to find more affordable option, then the lack of transportation becomes an issue.
When it comes to the county’s affordable housing, the study said about a third of the dwellings were built before 1960, which may highlight a need for capital commitment.
“This report highlights the housing affordability issues facing both renters and owners in Bruce County. The high cost of housing and shelter is presenting unique challenges and renters are especially vulnerable,” said Warden Chris Peabody.
Elected officials and municipal staff will discuss the report as part of their housing forum being held in Walkerton all day Thursday, February 9, 2023.