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Hamilton’s average house prices continued a decade-long climb, jumping 12% in 2010, while the city’s rental housing is among the most affordable in the province with a level of vacancies above the healthy range. After improving in 2006-07, the number of people without housing and staying in emergency shelters has levelled out, while the number of people in utility arrears and waiting for social housing has climbed over the last three years.

Shelter is a basic human right and accommodation for all needs to be available and affordable.

Homeowner Affordability

In 2010, Hamilton’s average house price increased 12% to $273,653 from $244,230 one year earlier. Hamilton’s house prices have risen 88% over the last decade; in 2000, the home was $145,192.[1]Hamilton remains more affordable than both provincial and national averages: Hamiltonians spend 3.5 times their annual income on a house, while provincial and national averages are over four times the annual income.[2]

Graph_housing1

Renter Affordability

Last year, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Hamilton rose to $783 from $767 in 2009. Provincially, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $980. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Affordability Index shows that Hamilton continues to be one of the most affordable cities in Ontario to rent an apartment.[3]

The vacancy rate for Hamilton continues to be above the healthy range of 2 to 3%. In the fall 2010, the vacancy rate for the Hamilton CMA was 3.7%, down from 4.0% one year earlier. The vacancy rate is projected to fall to 3.5% this year. The vacancy rates for the former city of Hamilton is higher at 4.5%.[4]

Emergency Shelter Usage

There were 3,680 people using emergency shelters in 2010, similar to the previous two years. The number of people who stayed in emergency shelters for more than 200 days of the year was 42; in 2009, it was 39. The occupancy rates for men’s shelters climbed from 70% to 85% due to the closure of one of the emergency shelters. The occupancy for women’s shelters for 2008-9 was close to 98%.[5]

Housing Starts

2010 was Hamilton’s strongest post-recession year with 2,282 units started. This was more than double the 1,053 units started in 2009. Year-to-date housing starts are down sharply for 2011: January to April 2011 starts are 400, compared with 866 for the corresponding period last year.[6]For updated information on housing starts, visit Hamilton’s Community Wellness Indicators.

Utility Arrears

The number of accounts more than 90 days in arrears with Horizon Utilities has increased 47% in the last three years. In 2011, 2,577 accounts are behind compared with 1,748 in 2008. This number has increased more than 10% each year since 2008.[7]

Social Housing Waiting List

The number of people on the waiting list for social housing is at its highest point since 2002. In June 2011 there were 5,743 households on the list – an increase of 11% from 2010. The lowest number in the last decade occurred in 2007 when 3,663 people were waiting.[8] The average wait varies by area of the city and type of housing requested. For single family homes and one-bedroom apartments, the wait can be over five years. For bachelor units downtown, the wait can be much shorter.

Graph_housing2

Population Density

Hamilton has a density of 451.6 people per square kilometre. Population density varies greatly by area of the city: in 2001, the former city of Hamilton had a density of 2,692 people per square kilometre, while Flamborough had a density of 77 people. Several neighbourhoods in Hamilton: Riverdale, Durand, Corktown, and Landsdale have population densities over 7,000 per sq. km.[9]


[1] Realtor’s Association of Hamilton Burlington.
Data provided by the Social Planning and Research Council.
[2] Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation based on data from CREA Average residential prices Average residential price found through CMHC, Canadian Housing Observer. Median household income data obtained from Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 202-0202. Based on tax data.
Source for CPI: Statistics Canada CANSIM Table 326-0002 , series v737344.
Data for CAs: Median Census family income through Statistics Canada special request. Average residential prices for CAs obtained from CREA through a special request. Provided by Community Foundations of Canada.

[3] Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Rental Market Report 2010. Hamilton and Brantford.
[4] Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 
Rental Market Report 2010. Hamilton and Brantford
.

[5] City of Hamilton, Community Services. 
On Any Given Night, Homelessness in Hamilton, 2010
.

[6] City of Hamilton, Community Wellness Indicators.

[7] Personal communication, Horizon Utilities Corporation.

[8] City of Hamilton, Community Wellness Indicators.

[9] Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton 2011. 
Hamilton’s Social Landscape, p.6
.