What Are Renters Renting In Niagara?

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This post is a follow-up to my recent post (dated September 10th) which looked at Census data which showed what types of dwellings (houses, townhouses, apartments, etc.) Niagara’s households were living in. This post takes a look at similar data but focuses on renter households in an effort to answer the question, What are renters renting?

The following tables reproduce data from the 2016 Census which shows the number of owner and renter households by housing type (type of structure in which their unit is found), age (age of the “primary household maintainer”), and monthly housing cost (total costs paid per month for housing). The number of renter households is also expressed as the percentage of total households, both owner and renter.

The table below shows that the bulk of Niagara’s renter households are most likely to rent detached houses and units in multi-unit buildings with less than five floors, followed by multi-unit buildings with more than five floors. Niagara’s renter households are less likely to rent townhouses, duplexes, and semi-detached houses. The relatively high number of renter households renting detaches houses is a surprise since we normally associate rentals with multi-unit properties such as apartment buildings or townhouses. Given that virtually all of those rented detached houses were originally built to be purchased, this data shows the relatively large size of the non-purpose-built rental supply, or the ‘unofficial’ or ‘hidden’ rental market.

The table below shows that Niagara’s renter households s are likely to be younger, usually in their 20s and 30s, although the number of renter households in their 40s and 50s is significant. The percentage of renter households increases slightly from age 75 and above. This data comes as no surprise since younger households are less able to afford to purchase house, generally speaking.

The table below shows that the bulk of Niagara’s renter households are paying from $500 to $1,499 per month for housing (total costs including rent, utilities, insurance, etc.). Rental housing in Niagara is relatively affordable compared to other areas of Ontario, particularly when compared to the GTA, so this data comes as no surprise. Housing cost data requires caution, however, since monthly housing costs are for all types of housing, i.e. everything from basement apartments in subdivided houses to large detached houses.