Do we use statistics to understand how we should shape government policy in coming years? For example do we consider the impact of every added expatriate job when determining housing needs such that we adjust planning policy or subsidize new developments ahead of time to compensate?

Let’s do some approximating to find out what kind of housing expectations we have based upon job growth.

Unfortunately the latest available appropriate statistics are from the 2000 Census which is rather dated. It will likely serve as a good enough approximation but it is truly unfortunate that these kind of stats are not updated more regularly. We’ll use “Rented Dwellings by Monthly Rent, Number of Bedrooms and Bermudian Status of Household Reference Person” as a benchmark for housing expectations.

So here we have a depiction of households by # of bedrooms in the year 2000 rented by non-Bermudians.

Let us now try a bit of approximation. We’ll take the number of households in each category and divide them into the total number of expatriate jobs to determine how the number of jobs approximately affects housing occupancy.

Ok, so what this chart tells us is that if we use the 2000 census as a benchmark, for every 100 new expatriate jobs added to the island, just under 5% would live in studio apartments, 22% in one bedroom apartments, 19% in two bedroom, 10% in three bedroom, 2% in four bedrooms and less than 1% would live in 5 or more bedroom accommodations. Also accounted for are the 40% of total jobs where the individual is not the household reference person.

So now that we have the approximate impact of the addition of every expatriate job, let’s take a look at expatriate job growth.

Let’s look at that again, only this time simply by the annual growth in jobs.

Ok, so now let’s overlay job growth and our earlier approximations of the household requirements per 100 jobs added on top of existing household numbers for the year 2000.

Ah, so now we’re looking at what may be the most telling chart of what this blog has been trying to explain for years. Let’s look at just the annual growth to get an even clearer picture.

Ok, so this chart should be very telling as it gives us a picture of rentals demand based upon expatriate job growth over the years since the 2000 Census. What has happened to our housing market is that we never adequately projected and prepared for the increased demand in one and two bedroom apartments. Indeed, since the year 2000 we can approximate demand for nearly 650 one bedroom and just over 550 two bedroom apartments. If supply doesn’t adequately match this demand two things occur, one is that prices for these in demand households rise, two is that people begin to “house-share” such that demand filters from one/two bedroom into larger households.

The critical issue is that as demand has shifted due to lack of adequate supply it has driven up prices across the board. This essentially has impacted Bermudian households for a two income Bermudian family cannot compete with what three expatriates can pay if they share the same three bedroom house. Thus, Bermudians lose.

So, while we’re busy building new ‘affordable homes for Bermudians’ we’re really not solving the fundamental problem.