Who owns what? Unpacking Northumberland County’s housing market

The show:

For years I have wanted to do this story. So often, when listening to people talk about homelessness or affordable housing, the conversation inevitably turns to real estate. What is going on with the housing market in Northumberland?

Advocates will tell you skyrocketing housing prices are pushing people out of the market. They will also curse investors and speculators who snap up properties to flip them – that is, buy and sell them in a short period for a profit – or turn them into rental units going for unholy monthly amounts.

The question is: how do you get to the numbers to see what is going on in Northumberland?

To start, an analysis of the municipal assessment role was done, and the results showed one in 10 properties in Cobourg were owned by someone who does not live in town. Further research backed up the findings.

These investors and speculators are called multi-property owners. They have a primary residence but own other properties. This can include buying existing homes or purchasing new homes in subdivisions.

During the research for this story, Cobourg Councillor Nicole Beatty, coordinator of planning and development, made a fascinating point. She said it is a two-sided coin.

For many, having multi-properties can represent a sound investment and good financial planning. Conversely, it can play havoc with the housing and rental markets. With Cobourg’s extremely tight rental market being less than one percent, the pressure is on to find a solution.

Today’s show will dig deep into this issue. The first segment is an extended report on the housing market with two knowledgeable people. Besides, Councillor Nicole Beatty will share her thoughts as the planning coordinator. Her municipal perspective could easily come from any politician in Northumberland County. You will also hear from Stacy Vermeire, the Northumberland Hills Realtors Association president. She will give her perspective from the frontlines.

Originally aired: August 12, 2022

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