Ottawa-area residents love where they live, but not what they're paying: survey

When it comes to housing affordability, renters in Ottawa-Gatineau are among the least satisfied in Canada, but homeowners like where they live, a national housing survey has found.

Only renters in Vancouver and Toronto are less satisfied with what they're paying, according to early results published in the 2018 Canadian Housing Survey, a federal survey designed to better understand and assess issues ranging from social housing to homelessness across the country. 

The numbers aren't as bleak where neighbourhood satisfaction is concerned, however, with a majority of households in the capital region indicating they're happy with where they live.

Grim rates for renters

In terms of affordability, renters in multi-unit dwellings in Ottawa-Gatineau reported a satisfaction rate of 58 per cent, lower than those in St. John's, who were the most satisfied in the country at 74.8 per cent. Toronto brought up the rear, with renters saying they're satisfied with costs just 47.9 per cent of the time. 

Besides being one of the groups least satisfied with rental costs across the country, Ottawa-Gatineau renters are also significantly less happy with affordability than are local homeowners — even ones who still have a mortgage. 

Earlier this year, a separate report found renters in Ottawa would need to earn at least $26 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The city's rental wage is the fifth-highest in the country, behind Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria and Calgary. 

4th in neighbourhood satisfaction

Out of all Canadian households reporting that they're satisfied or very satisfied with their neighbourhood, Ottawa-Gatineau landed fourth

The capital region scored just below the national average at a rate of 85.4 per cent — the same as Hamilton. 

Quebec nabbed the top spot with a satisfaction rate of 92.5 per cent, while Toronto came in last at 82.2 per cent. 

According to the survey, neighbourhood satisfaction takes several characteristics into consideration including safety, access to services, a sense of community and population density. 

However, the report noted that nationwide, satisfaction was lower for visible minorities, people in neighbourhoods they believe are unsafe and those living in large population centres. Renters were also less happy with their neighbourhoods, especially those residing in social and affordable housing.

In total, 4.7 per cent of Ottawa-Gatineau households surveyed said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their neighbourhood. 

Methodology

The Canadian Housing Survey — sponsored by the federal government's Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation — collected housing information from a sample of 126,465 Canadian households. 

Data was collected Nov. 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, from private households across the provinces and territories. 

The survey will be published every other year until 2028.