Our goal is that more families and individuals can live where they work and retirees can remain in the community in which they have worked.
Based on housing affordability in The Blue Mountains, our target is to make housing available to meet the demand of moderate household income in the range of 50 to 130% of the local median income (approximately $40,000 to $100,000). Read about some of the tenants who are looking for attainable housing in our community.
As a permanent resident of Thornbury and one who also works here, I am pleased to hear about the Attainable Rental Program. Like many local residents, my situation matches the eligibility criteria for The Gateway Attainable Housing Project. I moved to the Georgian Bay area from the city over five years ago, actively seeking a better quality of life, and I haven't looked back. As an assistant for a busy, successful real estate broker, I am familiar with the rents charged for acceptable apartments and houses in the area. In general, one's rent payment and utility expenses should not exceed 30% of one's gross income. Based on this established guideline, many local properties are beyond reasonable reach of individuals who earn a moderate gross annual income. Housing price increases continue to greatly outpace the median income increase in the area, leading to affordability issues for those working here, as well as retired individuals. It therefore makes perfect economic sense to create a program through which residents in this income group are able to not only pay their housing expenses, but also support the local businesses with money that they have available. This creates a more inclusive, thriving community.
I was born and raised locally. I have two advanced professional college diplomas with honours. I have full time employment in a local career within the upper 50th percentile for competitive wages. I have finally paid off my college debts. And I am still living at home, unable to move out.
Sadly, I cannot afford to move out. Rent in the area is upwards of $1600-$2000/ month plus utilities. This eliminates the possibility of saving for a house, having a newer reliable vehicle, or only working one job. As a single income person, the real estate market is out of reach by more than $100k for even a beginner home with many improvements required, which are also out of budget. The entire Georgian Bay region of Wasaga Beach, Stayner, Collingwood, Thornbury and Meaford is essentially off limits to a single income person trying to own their own home. Everyone says that I should be able to afford at least a condo. Even they are beyond budget. High mortgages to cover high real estate prices on your own is difficult, and with condo fees averaging upwards of $500 per month on top of an already high mortgage and bills, it is not achievable.
Ownership is always desired, but even being able to rent is out of reach for most people here. I think there is something to be said when a dual income household can barely afford enough to save any money and live modestly, let alone what a single person is supposed to do for options.
The workforce here is affected as well. There are many positions that are stable and full-time that go unfilled because there are so limited spaces available for rent, and the housing is too high, discouraging people from applying and/or keeping substantial positions. Some positions have been filled, only for those positions to be vacated because they cannot find an affordable rental or house, and the commute is too much. The high real estate and rental market is limiting people from being able to move here and fill both full time and part time positions in a variety of job fields.
The tourist industry here has expanded the basin for all municipalities, but at some expense to the locals for sure. Locals can no longer afford to live, work, and play here. The market is too high for singles and even dual incomes to be able to afford the rocketing prices, initiating long commutes from outside communities in order to work locally, and the desire to stay in the community you were raised in goes unfulfilled.
A working professional in a full-time stable career cannot afford to own a home, pay bills, and have food on the table in this area, and all surrounding areas. Locals who have grown up here and wish to stay and own a home here, are not able to purchase a home and continue to live here.
This is a very defeating feeling and reality for a lot of people. They have done everything society told them to do: study hard, work through college and university, establish a career, and still they cannot achieve the goal of independence.
Two advanced professional diplomas with honour roll status. A full-time stable career. Good positive income. Little debt. Still not able to purchase a home and live in the community they grew up in and desperately want to stay in. There has to be a solution somewhere, and soon.