Ottawa REALTORS® Urge Municipal Leaders to Address Senior Housing Issues

June 30, 2021

Both Ottawa Resident & REALTOR® Nanos Surveys Affirm Urgent Need for Affordable and Attainable Housing Options for Seniors.

The findings in newly released surveys of Ottawa residents and REALTORS® affirm the urgent need for municipal policies to address the increasing demand for a range of affordable and attainable housing options for the elderly residents of our City within the next five years.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) recently collaborated with the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and Nanos Research to conduct this public research. In addition to views on the current housing market’s challenges, the surveys also sought to assess the necessity of creating additional housing options for seniors.

OREB was particularly interested in perceptions and responses surrounding the need for a range of senior housing options in light of the deadly and devastating impact Covid-19 has had in long-term care homes and senior residences.

“As REALTORS®, we heard from our clients that many seniors would prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible, and many families would choose to have their parents live with them or on their property for as long as feasible,” states Ottawa Real Estate Board President, Debra Wright.

“However, we also know from experience that there are little to no options which currently exist within the real estate market for this goal to be realized, and that clients are repeatedly asking REALTORS® to locate affordable senior-friendly options,” she adds.

Designed by Nanos Research, a random phone survey of Ottawa residents and an online survey of OREB Members found, amongst other key results, that: 

  • 80% of Ottawa residents surveyed are concerned or somewhat concerned about the affordability, and 72% are concerned or somewhat concerned about the availability of adequate housing for seniors in Ottawa.
  • Just over one-third of Ottawa residents surveyed (35%) said they (or the seniors they make decisions on behalf of) would require a senior-friendly home within the next five years.
  • 56% of the REALTORS® surveyed said they had difficulty meeting the needs of senior housing (mean score of 7.2 out of 10).

When residents were asked how urgent a priority for the City of Ottawa is it to ensure seniors have adequate housing options on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being very urgent, 73% of respondents rated it urgent (mean score of 7.7 out of 10).

In the survey, residents supported easing restrictions for secondary suites and coach houses, and REALTORS® made several recommendations to municipal leaders to make it easier to meet the needs of their clients, which included:

  1. Be more flexible with construction regulations/permits (additions, separate entrances, main floor in-law suites)
  2. Ease up permit fees/provide funding/incentives/grants
  3. Make permits/application process faster/easier
  4. Tax incentives/breaks
  5. Build/allow coach houses

“The City is going to have to get creative. Our seniors deserve to live their golden years in a manner that respects their privacy, independence, and allows them to enjoy a lifestyle that befits their many years contributing to our communities.”

“We hope this research will assist in educating and mobilizing our community leaders on key issues surrounding housing strategies for our seniors in our region and will lead to informed decision making and existing policy improvement,” Wright concludes.

View full survey results on the Nanos Research website by clicking the buttons below: