The City of Hamilton, along with Burlington and Grimsby, find themselves at the centre of a troubling paradox:

  1. Metro Hamilton has a pre-existing housing shortage and needs to double homebuilding over the next decade to address this shortage and keep up with population growth;
  2. The shortage of housing in Metro Hamilton has caused home prices and rents to rise higher than in other communities in Canada;
  3. Metro Hamilton’s high home prices and rents risk pricing out the workers needed to build those homes.

Failing to address the housing shortage will not just cause living in Hamilton to become less affordable, but it will also strain the social and economic viability of the community. With an aging population, the region must attract and retain experienced workers to replace those retiring. It will need healthcare workers to care for an aging population and education workers to ensure Hamilton is a viable option for families with children. A new report entitled “Who Will Swing the Hammer?” from Smart Prosperity Institute with support from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the West End Home Builders’ Association tackles this problem head on.

“Hamilton’s population is aging. We need to do more to ensure there are enough housing choices for both Millennials and Generation Z. Without that, we won’t have enough workers to support our local economy. Unfortunately, Hamilton is lagging behind communities like Kitchener-Cambridge- Waterloo when it comes to attracting younger families.” – Jesse Helmer, Senior Research Associate, Smart Prosperity Institute

“Hamilton’s vision is to be the best community to raise a child and age successfully, and in order to achieve that goal we must urgently address the current housing shortage. Hamilton area businesses are looking to attract the best and the brightest talent from around the world, but for people to make Hamilton home, we need enough attainable, family-friendly housing options so these workers can afford to live in our community. We need to take decisive action today or we will risk losing talent and opportunities to our neighbouring regions.” – Greg Dunnett, President & CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

“Hamilton’s housing costs relative to other cities like Brantford or London is a primary driver of young families leaving the area. The high cost of housing is like a payroll tax for Hamilton area employers. If they wish to retain their workforce, there will be significant upward pressure on wages.” – Mike Moffatt, Senior Director, Smart Prosperity Institute

“Failure to construct enough housing, particularly attainable family-friendly housing, will make it challenging for Hamilton to attract and retain talent. Hamilton already lacks affordability for families; the region cannot allow the problem to worsen, otherwise we will lose the competition for talent. We need to build a lot more homes of all types and tenures for our growing community, it’s time to get shovels in the ground.” – Mike Collins-Williams, CEO, West End Home Builders’ Association