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Vital Signs: Affordable Housing

Core housing need

Households are deemed to be in core housing need if they meet one of three conditions: 1) the home is in inadequate condition, 2) the home is unsuitable (too few bedrooms), or 3) the home is unaffordable (rent or mortgage exceeds 30% of the household’s annual income). The majority (75%) of those in need in Hamilton live in adequate and suitable housing, but their housing is unaffordable.

In 2020, pandemic benefits temporarily improved incomes and resulted in total core housing need declining from 36,800 households to 34,500 households and, as a share of all households, from 13% to 11.6%. As shown in the chart below, the number and incidence of need is much higher for renters than owners, because, on average, renters have much lower incomes. Among owners, 5% are in core housing need while for renters more than one- quarter (26.1%) are in core need.

Source:  Statistics Canada, Community Profile, Census of Population