ROGER SAUVÉ – The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News – Week 8 – HOME – The places where we live
There are over 44,000 private dwellings in SD&G, providing a place to live to over 110,000 residents.
On average, there are 6.6 rooms per dwelling while there are only 2.4 persons per household. This gives us almost three rooms per person.
A room is defined as an enclosed area within a dwelling which is finished and suitable for year-round living. Unfinished basements don’t count. Overcrowding does not seem to be a big problem, with less than one out of 100 homes with more than one person per room.
For the most part, residents of SD&G are home owners. About 73% of us own our homes and about half of homeowners have a mortgage and half don’t.
In 2006, the average owned private dwelling was worth about $160,000 and is now probably closer to $190,000 or so. In 2006, the average price in SD&G was about half of what it was in Ontario as a whole and less than 40% of the price in Toronto. This should be a key factor in promoting this region as a great place to live. Add water views, the people and you have a winner.
OK, OK, I have to admit that our incomes are lower … but only 17% lower and not 50% lower as are our housing prices.
About 71% of all our housing is a single-detached home with another 6% being semi-detached. The rest are apartments, duplexes or row housing.
All of these numbers are derived from the 2006 Census … the latest detailed data available. Fill out your Census forms again in May 2011. It is the law that you do so and individual responses are kept strictly confidential. Economists and demographers like me only get to see the big picture, which has enabled me to write these series of 10 articles. I have learnt a lot preparing these columns and hope you have too.
About half of all homes (detached, semi-detached, apartments, etc) in SD&G were built before 1970 and half came later. The biggest decade for home building was from 1971 to 1980 when over 7,000 of the homes now in existence were built. (I invite readers to tell us more about what was happening in the booming 1970s. Just go to the comment section at the bottom of this article and give others readers some of your insights.) The number of homes built in the decade from 1996 to 2006 was only half that amount.
The Census also asked us whether our residences were in need of major repairs. And we know we are always totally truthful in our responses, especially in SD&G. eh? Major repairs refer to the repair of defective plumbing or electrical wiring, structural repairs to walls, floors and ceilings.
A fairly hefty 9% of us said yes to this question. Another 30% of us said that our homes needed minor repairs which refer to the repair of missing or loose floor tiles, bricks or shingles, defective steps, railing or siding, etc.
And can we all afford our homes? Statistics Canada suggests that people who spend 30% or more of their gross incomes on major payments on owned homes or gross rent by renters may be experiencing housing affordability problems. This is just a rough measure but better than no measure at all.
In 2006, about one quarter of us had housing affordability problems. Only 8% of owners without a mortgage had a potential problem. This compares to 24% of owners who still had a mortgage with a possible problem and 45% among renters. As might be expected, the renters with the most problems seem to be lone-parent families where about 55% of all such households spent more than 30% of their incomes on rent. There was not much left over for food, clothing and other necessities.
We certainly have our problems … but we have much of which to be proud.
After 40 years of living and working in various parts of Canada, I came back to SD&G in 2006. It is a wonderful place to live.
Have a better year in 2010.
Roger Sauvé is President of People Patterns Consulting (www.peoplepatternsconsulting.com). Roger is an economist and demographer and lives in Summerstown.
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