A Few Thoughts on Week 51

It finally happened, I wrote an entire post, it didn’t save for some reason so I re-wrote this this morning.

  • You can hear a teaser for the next #councilconversation episode with Eric Beauregard from Port Colborne Ontario here.
  • Mean, Median and Moose post on Crime, Courts and Constables is up.
  • A couple of weeks ago my neighbours installed a Ring Door bell. I noticed this when walking Izzy one day when she she went up on their lawn. This got me thinking how many other Rings were in the neighbourhood?
    • I had previously written about Ring and Windsor Police and the propose formal partnership with the Amazon subsidiary.
  • So over the last couple of weeks I have walked West Windsor with Izzy looking from the sidewalk (or road where there is no sidewalk) at the doorbells on houses. I made note of what I saw.
  • Each of the little triangles is a Ring door bell or visible security camera. I have no idea how far they actually see or if they are activated by someone walking down the sidewalk. I also don’t know if people are saving or sharing their video on the various social media platforms that support these video services.
    • I also haven’t gone down every street in West Windsor, so there are likely to be more missing from this map. I will keep adding to it over the coming weeks as the weather gets nicer and Izzy and my walks get longer.
    • It is interesting note that there are very few routes in West Windsor that won’t have you coming across some camera.
  • This post by my colleague and friend Katie Renaud is really important! As is the one she cites from Leigh Vachon!
  • Two municipal councillors in London announced that they will not be running for re-election in the hope of elevate more women and/or persons of colour to council. A good reminder that we are 18 months to municipal elections and casting a cynical eye on announcements going forward.
  • Katerina Georgieva  piece on what is affordable in Windsor is certainly something that I have been thinking about. So I have decided to expand upon it.
    • I data I used which is cited below is only available at the Windsor CMA so we are not just speaking about Windsor but also LaSalle, Lakeshore, Amherstburg and Tecumseh.
  • Lets begin with two charts:
  • The chart above shows how incomes have changed over the last 2 decades in the region for various “census family” types. Those “not in census families” are individuals who live alone, this could be young people like students, seniors or any unattached individual. You also have to note that “couple families” are not necessarily two incomes families (more on that below)
    • You also have to remember that these are median values, so half of families are making more and making less that the charted values. Families may move above or below that median year over year.
  • The upward trend is good but you can also see the gap between two income families and lone parents and unattached individuals. The gap is larger than if you were to add two unattached median incomes together implying that couple households, are leveraging additional earning potential.
  • If we index those incomes to a constant we see the following:
  • Generally speaking incomes for all families have risen by about 30% over the last 2 decades with lone parent families seeing almost 70% growth in incomes. We could probably suspect continued incremental growth in 2019 before a likely decline in 2020 with the dip likely being larger than the 2008 one.
    • Some of this growth was driven by increases to government transfers. The Child Tax Benefit under the Harper Government that was consolidated and expanded upon under the Trudeau government.
  • So incomes have indeed gone up but the challenge housing is that housing prices have risen by 30% in a year, rents have risen 15%. This is not a one off this has happened year over year.
    • I was fortunate to buy my house in 2016 for $118,000, it appraised for $180,000 in 2020 when I had to refinance and last week a house that is more or less identical in rooms and exterior appearance was listed for $191,000 and although I haven’t heard the final sale price, I heard it went over asking. This is for a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, with no garage, and built in 1958.
  • Well, maybe there aren’t that many lone parents and persons not in census families.
  • Well as you can see approximately 100,000 people in the Windsor CMA live in households that are lone parent or not in census families or about 1/3 of the CMA’s population.
  • Now it is true that some senior who live alone may already have a house. One more piece of data, a special subset looking at Employment income not counting government transfers etc. in couples household hold broken out by household earning type.
Statistics Canada. Table 11-10-0009-01  Selected income characteristics of census families by family type
  • What you see is that two income households do far, far better than one income households based on the median.
    • This is where the “she-cession” narrative that we are currently hear in response to COVID, two income households is really the only way to survive, let alone thrive in Ontario.
  • Mike Moffat as has an ongoing series on his blog called Ontarians on the Move that encapsulated many of the challenges facing our regions housing markets. Population growth through immigration + slow construction in GTA and Ontario + NIMBYism in Toronto is forcing people to look down the 401 for places to live.
  • So bringing this back to housing in Windsor-Essex.
    • By my estimation housing is not affordable for approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the population who housing is likely unaffordable. At the time of the Census 1 in 3 people in the CMA were housing insecure, I am will to bet that this number has gone up.
    • This issue is more acute in Windsor where incomes are lower, poverty is greater and housing stock is poorer.
    • The rest of the CMA continues to out build Windsor
Compiled from Monthly CMHC Reports
  • The Windsor Work Strategy without an accompanying housing strategy I would argue it is likely to fail. Windsor may be able to attract talent, (likely international students who are retained) but they will price out existing residents locally. That same talent due to the lack of negative personal impacts may also choose to reside outside the City. This could exacerbate the infrastructure deficit that the City faces as more people commute every day
    • Simply putting up towers downtown won’t necessarily solve this as home office and workout space are some of the fastest growing in demand requirements for house hunters.
    • Without a strategy to lift up existing residents, you are unlikely to change circumstances in Windsor and inequality between Windsor and it’s suburbs as well as within Windsor will get worse.
  • It is interesting to think about the long term plans for the hotel the City is purchasing are. Could a wing of that hotel be converted into housing? Take what were 3 hotel rooms and convert them into 2 – 1 bedroom apartments?
    • It also has me thinking about what is happening with HDGH proposal for seniors housing. The City was going to find a new piece of land, for them, the question is where and hopefully soon!
    • This blog post from the Centre for Cities discusses for the The City of Windsor’s Residential Deep Energy Efficiency Retrofit (R-DEER) Program. The program itself is interesting but me in this context the question are the unintended consequences. A house takes on the program, retrofits are done, and then it is put up for sale. Not only do the retrofits raise the value of the home, likely resulting in higher prices in an already overheated market. Additionally as the renovations are paid through property taxes, over an extended period, the carrying cost of house, not only from a mortgage standpoint but also a tax standpoint rises.
      • It may be impossible to reconcile these issues
  • Windsor is home to one of the lowest living wage values in Ontario and it can be argued that this wage calculation hasn’t kept up with rising cost of living in Windsor.
    • Brookfield’s report on tech wage gaps and lower wages point to challenges and an important conversation that really isn’t happening.
    • What we pay people locally needs to be competitive not just for our community but globally. Otherwise those who live outside Windsor will win the bidding war for our houses and we might not able to attract the right talent to our community.
  • What is concerning is that we have effectively plateaued and are now inching our way down in case counts. We are in “Red” another week but if we really want to open up we need to push the 7 day average down under 10 which is another big step to take.
  • With nicer weather that could help drive down cases like last summer it could also bring people out in unsafe ways.

One thought on “A Few Thoughts on Week 51

  1. Pingback: A Few Thoughts on Week 52 | gingerpolitics

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