When considering housing and housing standard in a region, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) allocate acceptable housing standards.  Acceptable housing is defined as housing that is adequate in condition and does not require major repairs, suitable in size for the occupants and affordable.  Housing that does not meet at least one of these standards is not considered acceptable.

Adequate Conditions

Housing that requires major repairs inhibits the livelihood of the occupants.  Adequate housing is based on the resident’s opinion of need for major repairs.  The housing repairs in Elgin County is similar to the average in Canada, however it should be mentioned that West Elgin has over 2% more houses that require major repairs, and Malahide is reporting 2.5% less houses in need of major repairs than the Canadian average.

Suitable Size

Suitable housing is housing that has enough bedrooms for the size and make-up of resident households, according to National Occupancy Standard (NOS) requirements. Enough bedrooms based on NOS requirements means one bedroom for each cohabiting adult couple; unattached household member 18 years of age and over; same-sex pair of children under age 18; and additional boy or girl in the family, unless there are two opposite sex children under 5 years of age, in which case they are expected to share a bedroom. A household of one individual can occupy a bachelor unit (i.e. a unit with no bedroom).  In general Elgin County is reporting that there are no occupancy issues, apart from ten instances in which four people are living in a one bedroom dwelling, and three people are living in a one room dwelling. This statistic is considered under reported because many large families living in housing too small for them fear that they will be evicted if they report lack of space.

Housing Affordability

In general the housing across Elgin County can be considered relatively affordable with 78% of the population living in dwellings that cost less than 30% of their before taxable income. West Elgin is the only municipality that has higher prevalence than Canada of housing above the 30% income level; however, this figure is still below the Ontario average.  It would be ideal for all housing to fall into the affordable housing level by diversifying the available housing in the region to help accommodate residents across the economic scale.

The figure shows the geographical distribution of the percent of housing costing over 30% of income. 

Residential Rates

Along with understanding the amount of income St. Thomas and Elgin County residents are spending on housing, it is important to understand the distribution of property costs.  In the County, average residential prices were $208,076 with varied tax rates across the County. Aylmer has the highest rate of 2.29% and Southwold has the lowest rate 1.13%.  These rates are important to consider affordability of a home.

Residential Tax Rates 2011




St. Thomas

Central Elgin



West Elgin