New Data Unveils Resident Sentiment Across Western Ontario on Housing, Affordability and Other Issues

A majority of residents across Western Ontario believe the region has good access to daily activities and is an excellent environment for raising a family, according to a new report by Abacus Data. At the same time, residents expressed concerns over housing and economic stability, affirming the challenges of inflation, cost of living, and affordability.

Abacus Data conducted the study, on behalf of four real estate associations in Western Ontario: Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS®; Huron Perth Association of REALTORS®; London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR); and Woodstock Ingersoll Tillsonburg and Area Association of REALTORS®.

“Residents identified cost of living, as well as housing accessibility and affordability, as the top two issues across the region,” said Kathy Amess, LSTAR 2024 Chair. “In LSTAR’s jurisdiction, these issues resonate the strongest with residents between the ages of 18 and 34-years-old, with 58 percent saying that cost of living is the issue elected officials should be focusing on the most.”

Nearly two-thirds of homeowners who will need to renew their mortgage are concerned about their ability to afford their monthly payments, while almost half of all respondents believe that housing will become less affordable in the next five years.

Residents attribute several factors to housing affordability challenges.

“Fifty percent of residents across the region believe increased immigration to Canada is currently the most important factor related to housing affordability,” Amess said. “Nearly 40 percent say housing has become unaffordable and expensive because the population is growing too fast.”

Eighty-six percent of respondents believe the provincial government should prioritize making housing more affordable. The study finds a majority are dissatisfied with how their elected leaders have addressed housing.

“Respondents want to see more from all levels of government,” said Bill Madder, LSTAR CEO. “It underscores just how complex the issues are. There is no silver bullet to address the housing crisis and it will require a collaborative effort, between government and all sectors of the community.”

Despite the challenges, a majority of residents believe their region is headed in the right direction.

“This is encouraging, when compared to the national sentiment,” Madder said. “Recent findings from Abacus Data show only 25 percent feel things in Canada are headed in the right direction. Almost 75 percent of Western Ontario residents say they have an excellent or good quality of life, highlighting the region is a good place to live long term which provides a healthy and active lifestyle. The data indicates Western Ontario as a very desirable place to live and we should be proud of that.”  

Check out the full survey results here.

About the Survey

The results are based on a random telephone (landline and mobile) and online survey of 1,250 residents (18 years of age or older) of London and St. Thomas (500 residents), Chatham-Kent (250 residents), Huron-Perth (250 residents), and Woodstock (250 residents) conducted between January 17 and February 12, 2024.