Saturday, March 2, 2024

Affordable Housing Project Could Add Tens of Millions of Dollars to County and Municipal Tax Bills

Editor,

I am writing this in response to your opinion piece in the most recent Meaford Independent regarding the track property and affordable housing. In your opinion piece you state the following:

“With the average resale price of a home in Grey County currently more than $700,000, a household income of more than $200,000 per year is required in order to afford to buy a home, meaning that current home prices are affordable to just 10 percent of our population.”

I assume these figures were given at Monday’s special council meeting. While an income of $200,000 may be required to buy the average priced home in Meaford, nowhere near that much income is required to buy a home in Meaford. A quick perusal of the real estate companies in Grey County show hundreds of homes of all types priced below $500,000, with many below $400,000.

Saying that only 10 percent of families can afford to buy a home is a gross exaggeration that seems to be intended to stifle any push-back to a project that council seems determined to proceed with without any community consultation.

Let’s also keep in mind that part of the affordability problems we are currently facing is the result of our high levels of taxation from all levels of government: Federal, Provincial, County, Municipal, School Board, municipal fees, gas taxes, sales taxes, etc. Council is now suggesting a new project that, according to the figures in your article, could add tens of millions of dollars to our municipal and county tax bills in an effort to combat the affordability problem.

For a family currently just scraping by this project would just be another straw on the camel’s back.

Gary Chambers, Meaford

Editor’s Note: I could certainly have been more precise with my wording, but you are correct, only the top 10 percent of households with incomes of more than $200,000 per year can afford to purchase what is today an average home price of roughly $700,000. Of course, there are homes that cost less and can be purchased by households with varying incomes.

Consider this, however: the average household income in the Municipality of Meaford is $100,600 (median is $79,500). Housing affordability is based on 30 percent of gross household income used to pay a mortgage, which means if we use the average household income in Meaford, an affordable home is under $350,000 – how many homes are currently on the market for that price? Not many these days. If we use the median household income, an affordable home would be less than $300,000.

No matter how you look at it, we are in a pickle, not just in Meaford, but across the country.

 

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