June 10, 2015

Erin in top 100 of Canada’s Best Places to Live

As published in The Erin Advocate

High income, low crime and low unemployment have teamed up with a strong arts and sports culture to place the Town of Erin at #76 on the MoneySense list of Canada’s Best Places to Live.

This is the first time Erin has been included in the magazine’s annual ranking of 209 municipalities. Orangeville is another new arrival, coming in at #97, and it seems we live in a good neighbourhood. Veterans of the list include Caledon at #56 this year, Centre Wellington (Fergus-Elora) at #52, Halton Hills at #21 and Guelph at #15.

Of the 209 places listed, Erin scored in the top 25% for income, employment, arts and sports activity and lack of crime.

It scored lower in the categories of affordable housing, healthy population growth (only 1.3% in five years), access to health care, low taxes, good weather, and ease of walking, biking and taking transit. The report says 3% of Erin residents use public transit to get to work.

Many Canadians say the place they live is the best, but MoneySense writer Mark Brown says the list is not about civic pride. “The purpose is to take an objective look at the communities across the country and identify the ones where residents can thrive,” he said.

The statistics were provided by Environics Analytics, Statistics Canada, Environment Canada and IHS Automotive. Points were awarded to communities using weighted categories: Weather - 10%; Commuting - 11%; Wealth - 28%; Demographics - 17% and Other (including crime, amenities, healthcare, culture and taxation) - 35%.

Boucherville, Quebec (south of Montreal) came in #1, while Calgary, a former #1, slipped to #19. Other highlights include Burlington #3, Oakville #6, Stratford #7, Waterloo #16, Toronto #35, Kitchener #40, Hamilton #41, Milton #57, Mississauga #61 and Brampton #154.

The median annual household income in Erin is listed at $105,809, with average discretionary income of $58,112 and an average household net worth of $784,001.

In comparison, households in the Town of Caledon are said to have median annual income of $95,118, with discretionary income averaging $61,238, net worth at $926,552, property valued at $621,859 and property taxes at $3,414.

The value of an average Erin resident’s primary real estate is pegged at $576,460, with the property tax averaging $3,306. What that tax figure includes, and for what year, is not stated, but it does not line up with the Town’s numbers.

After passage of the 2015 budget, the Town of Erin calculated that a home assessed at $400,000 would generate about $1,150 in Town taxes, $2,596 in County taxes and $780 in School taxes, for a total of $4,526. That’s up 2.22% from 2014.

Erin is not on any of the specialty lists published by MoneySense, including Canada’s Richest Cities, based on Household Net Worth. Caledon places #9 on that list with households averaging $926,552. That’s similar to places like Oakville, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Aurora, but far short of West Vancouver, #1 with households averaging $3,152,364.

Halton Hills has the distinction of being #9 on the list of Best Places to Raise Kids. It has an average monthly daycare cost of $1,222, with 62.6% of families having children, 20.6% of the population under age 15, and a crime rate that has dropped 32% in five years.

Other interesting facts about Erin from the profile:

• Population: 11,282.

• Unemployment rate: 2.98%.

• Crime Rate per 100,000 people: 2,636 (down 23% in the last 5 years).

• Violent crime severity index: 15.8 (compared to Halton Hills at 20.1, Guelph at 42.5 or Brampton at 51.3).

• Average income tax for a person earning $50,000: $8,571.

• Vehicles 2012 or newer: 17.9% (Luxury vehicles 2012 or newer: 1.3%).

• People walking to work: 2.6%.

• People employed in arts and recreation: 2%.

• Medical doctors per 1,000 people: .98.

• Owned homes: 94.8%.

• Climate: 750 mm annual rainfall, 105 days with maximum temperature over 20°C, 7.7 days over 24°C.