Niagara Region sees soaring housing prices, need for stronger supply

The average price of a home in Niagara Region increased from $229,800 in 2013 to $629,700 in 2023. That’s an increase of 174 per cent over just a ten-year span. Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette.


Zoocasa recently released a report showing that Niagara Region has seen some of the highest increases in the cost of housing in the entire country. 

The report looks at how housing prices have changed over the past ten years. It looks at major cities and municipalities from every province, other than Prince Edward Island.

The average price of a home in Niagara Region increased from $229,800 in 2013 to $629,700 in 2023.

That’s an increase of 174 per cent over just a ten-year span.

Price growth in Niagara Region was second only to price growth in the London and St. Thomas area. 

It’s also far above the national average. The national average for home price growth in Canada between 2013 and 2023 was 86.8 per cent. Price growth in Niagara Region was double the national average. 

Nearby areas also saw significant increases. Home prices grew by an average rate of 159 per cent in Kitchener-Waterloo, 137 per cent in Guelph and 130 per cent in the Hamilton-Burlington area.

The soaring price of homes has also led to a very significant increase in mortgage payments. 

Niagara Region mortgage payments increased from an average monthly rate of $1,036 in 2013 to $3,479 in 2023. That’s a stunning growth of 235 per cent. 

Niagara Region released an Affordable Housing Strategy last year to try to tackle the rising cost of housing. 

The strategy includes plans to build 44,300 single and semi-detached units, 27,400 row and townhouse units and 31,000 more apartments by 2051. 

To help speed up new builds, Niagara Region says it plans to streamline the development approval process, provide development incentives and development charge deferrals for developers and support non-profit housing projects. 

Last month, the federal government announced $25.7 million for St. Catharines through its Housing Accelerator Fund. 

“I am pleased to see the federal government’s investment of over $25 million into the City of St. Catharines to fast track the construction of new homes,” said Regional Chair Jim Bradley. “Over the next 10 years, more than 12,000 homes will be built in part due to this generous funding.” 

Still, many are concerned that not enough is being done to address Niagara Region’s housing crisis. 

Niagara Region’s strategy falls short of the province’s goal of adding nearly 300,000 new housing units to Niagara Region by 2051. To meet the province’s objectives, Niagara would have to add roughly 17,000 new housing units between now and 2051. 

New residential construction was down in much of Niagara Region in 2023 compared to 2022. That’s a concerning sign. 

Some local politicians are spearheading initiatives to cut red tape to facilitate more construction.

St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe has identified housing as his top priority, with a goal of building 15,000 homes in St. Catharines over the next 10 years. He sees red tape as a major impediment to growing the housing supply. 

“We have to make it easier to get housing built,” Siscoe said. “We’re modernizing the building department. We’re going to bring in an online portal for things like permits and inspections, just to make it easier for people to interface with the city and get the information they need, get their permits filed.”

Whether St. Catharines, Niagara Region and the province reach their housing goals will likely depend on whether enough red tape can be cut and new construction encouraged in the years ahead. 

Housing price increases, as seen in the Zoocasa report, reflect in large part issues with housing supply. With limited supply and growing demand, prices soared. In order for Niagara Region’s home prices to be sustainable and attainable, much more supply is needed. 

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