My contention is that we have a major housing shortage, especially studios and one-bedrooms which due to the increase of ex-patriot workers over the last 7 years. Assuming supply and demand were balanced in the year 2000, my rough estimates indicate that by now we should have built roughly the following numbers of units to meet present demand.
1,312 new studio / one bedroom units
478 new two-bedroom units
283 new three-bedroom units
110 new four-bedroom units
4 new five-bedroom units
A failure to have built units to match these numbers would suggest that we have not matched supply with demand and thus would explain the major strains presently on housing.
By my last count, government was in the process of adding 341 new units which will barely satisfy the needs of those on the emergency housing waiting list. Even with private sector development, it is doubtful that we’re anywhere near the estimates of increased demand which I’ve noted above.
Bermuda is deep in a severe housing crisis. We have not adequately prepared for the growth of ex-pats, especially one-person family ex-pats who share homes that otherwise should be going to Bermudian families.
So, remind me again where we’re going to put all the people for the 1000 jobs a year we’re expected to add over the next 3 years?
Supporting thoughts + calculations
From the statistics report on the Characteristics of Bermuda’s Families
A greater proportion of non-Bermudians lived in one-person families than Bermudians. In absolute terms, however, the greater number of one-person families were Bermudian (8,124) and 66% were one-person households. Their non-Bermudian counterparts formed 3,056 one-person families and 54% lived alone.
In composite households, 73% were comprised of one-person families (Figure 1 and Figure 2); for example, four unrelated roommates would form four one-person families.
So, 2680 one person Bermudian families share households and 1406 one person non-Bermudian families share households for a total of 4,086.
According to the 2000 census there were 6,881 non-Bermudian workers (not including spouses of Bermudians and potentially including permanent residents).
According to the most recent Labour Market Indicators, there are 9,813 filled non-Bermudian positions for 2006. That represents an increase of 2932 additional workers.
Considering that the overall population of non-Bermudians in 2000 was 13,256 and 6,881 of them worked, that means approx 52% worked. Applying that number to the 9813 filled non-Bermudian jobs today, that equates to 18871 non Bermudians, or some 5615 who would have been added to the overall population. Which matches estimates that our population is roughly 67,000 people at present.
If one were to use the 2000 Census of Families by family type and Bermudian Status of family head as a benchmark, 3056 non Bermudians were one person families out of 13,256, so about 23% overall. Assuming that same 23% of the 18871 non-Bermudians at present suggests 4340 one person non-Bermudian families today. If using the benchmark noted above of 54% living alone, that would mean 2344 live alone today and 1996 share households. Contrast that to the 1650 who lived alone the 1406 who shared back in the year 2000 and we’ve got comparative increases of 694 living alone and 590 sharing.
If, according to the 2000 census, there were 1,188 Studios and 6,385 one Bedrooms available in the year 2000, that indicates a total stock of 7573 units catering to one-person families.
If in the last 7 years, there was an increase in 694 ex-pats who preferred to live alone, that would indicate that we’d need approximately 694 new studio/one bedroom places added to the housing stock. Has that many been added?
If that many hasn’t been added, it is a likely assumption that those individuals could outbid Bermudians out of the existing housing stock and thus force more Bermudians who traditionally would have enjoyed one-person abodes to end up continuing to live with their parents or to share accommodations. Even worse, if prices rose too high due to factors of demand and supply, it is likely that these ex-pats who traditionally would have lived on their own would spill over into shared accommodations as well, impacting supply of multiple room dwellings.
In order to evaluate the increase of 590 ex-pats who traditionally would share accommodations, we can use the percentage distribution of households by number of bedrooms to guesstimate their requirements. When discounting one bedrooms and studios, roughly 52% of homes are two bedrooms, 40% are three bedrooms, and 7% are 4 bedrooms. So roughly, lets guesstimate 148 new two bedroom units, 83 three bedroom units, 10 four bedroom units and 1 five bedroom units to satisfy the needs of these house-sharing ex-pats. Again, if comparable numbers haven’t been built, you can expect Bermudians to be outbid an that ex-pats will put multiple people into each bedroom, if necessary.
Now, of course we haven’t even gotten to the growth in multiple person expat families of approximately 4331 people who may share a studio or one bedroom, but could also opt for a larger households.
According to the 2000 census, there were 1,468 adult couples in the year 2000. So that makes 2936 non-Bermudians of the 13256, or 22%, of the total number of non-Bermudians. Taking into account the 5615 non-Bermudians we’ve approximately added to our population, that’s approximately 1235 people, or roughly 618 couples. That means we’d need to add 618 studio or one bedroom units to accommodate them assuming they wouldn’t opt for bigger.
Now lets deal with the couples with children. Ignoring the other, extended family and one parent cases to make things easy, we’re looking at about 1582 people, or about 12%, for the year 2000. Adjusting for our present approximation of non-Bermudian population, 12% equates to 2,265 people. To make it easy, lets use similar guesstimates as we did above for expats sharing. So, 330 two bedroom units, 200 three bedroom units, 100 four bedroom units and say 3 five bedroom unit, which takes into consideration that kids will roughly end up sharing rooms in many cases.