Growth of senior housing occupancy in major markets


In a recent volume of data published, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) declared that occupancy in seniors’ homes experienced a little growth in the three main seniors’ housing markets of Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario.

The data released by the CMHC’s regional Seniors’ Housing Reports supplied metrics for two sorts of spaces: standard and non-standard spaces

The CMHC explained that “standard spaces, also referred to as independent living, are those occupied by a resident paying market rent and who does not receive 1.5 or more hours of care per day. A non-standard space is one in which the residents are receiving at least 1.5 hours of care per day, spaces being used for respite and non-market spaces”.

Vacancies within standard spaces dropped to 6.2 per cent in Quebec during the 2017 year, as opposed to 6.8 per cent in the year 2016. During the same interval, non-standard space vacancy declined from 5.5 per cent to 5.0 per cent. The mean rent was at $1,678 per month for standard spaces, and $3,200 for heavy care spaces.

The regional economist at CMHC Quebec, Kevin Hughes said “the progressive decrease of the vacancy rate in private retirement homes reflects sustained demand. But while 18 per cent of Quebecers aged 75 years and older live in a retirement home, the others opt for alternative forms of housing. It will be critical for us to understand the residential trajectory of baby-boomers as it will be a determining factor for the future of the housing sector and for society as a whole”.

Meanwhile, there was a 10.4 per cent drop in vacancies for standard spaces in Ontario during the year 2017, and a 10.3 per cent drop in vacancies for all spaces. The average rent for standard spaces increased to $3,526.

“The overall vacancy rate in Ontario reached the lowest level since 2001 as demand for seniors’ housing has outpaced supply. Vacancy rates dropped in more than half of the Ontario markets in 2017. Many areas showed signs of pent-up demand due to greater demand growth than growth in supply,” explained Jean Sebastien Michel, CMHC principal, market analysis in Ontario.


At the same time, the entire vacancy rate for autonomous living spaces in B.C. seniors’ residences experienced a drop of two percentage points year after year to 4.5 per cent in 2017.

Keith Stewart, CMHC market analyst in B.C. said “while rising demand and operating costs have increased monthly rents, large price increases in the resale market over the past few years have supported some seniors’ ability to move into independent living and heavy care spaces”.




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