We have just released the results of the new 2020 Seniors’ Housing Survey. In these annual tables we share information on the seniors’ housing market in 7 regions across Canada:
- British Columbia
Data collection took place in February 2020.
Overview of Average Rents and Vacancy Rates in Canada
This year, vacancy rates have varied in seniors’ residences across the country. Some regional trends and exceptions are noteworthy. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the vacancy rate for standard spaces is now 22.6%. It is only 2.7% in Manitoba and 3.4% in Nova Scotia. Vacancy rates were also generally higher in the Prairies — about 15% in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Quebec again posts the highest capture rate in the country. Indeed, 18.4% of its seniors aged 75 and over lived in seniors’ residences in 2020, while in other provinces across the country, this proportion varies between only 5% and 10%.
Average rents for standard spaces*
- British Columbia
Vacancy rates for standard spaces*
- British Columbia
*Standard space: a space where the resident does not receive high-level care or is not required to pay an extra amount to receive high-level care.
Quebec demand grew faster than supply
Demand for standard spaces in Quebec’s seniors’ residences grew slightly faster than supply. Returning to its 2018 level, the vacancy rate decreased slightly to 6.9% in 2020 (it was 7.2% in 2019).
However, changes in vacancy rates varied across metropolitan areas. The vacancy rate declined in only 3 of the 6 Quebec CMAs:
The vacancy rate for heavy-care spaces remained relatively stable at 5.9%.
The average rent for standard spaces was $1,844 in 2020, compared to $3,409 for heavy-care spaces.
Ontario saw the first increase in 6 years!
The vacancy rate for standard spaces increased to 11.0% across all unit types. Ward/semi-private spaces recorded the largest increase.
This was the first increase in six years, after the vacancy rate had declined to a 10-year low of 10.3% in 2019.
The total supply of seniors’ housing grew by 3.9% to 65,049 spaces in 2020, outpacing the growth in demand.
Total supply of seniors’ housing grew by 3.9% to 65,049 spaces in 2020, outpacing the growth in demand.
The average rent for a standard space increased by 2.8% to $3,865.
Manitoba saw a decrease for a second consecutive year
The vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing decreased from 3.0% in 2019 to 2.7% in 2020.
In the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, the vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing was 2.4%. In comparison, the vacancy rate of heavy care spaces was 1.2%.
The average rent for a standard space in Manitoba was $2,849 in 2020 compared to $2,819 in 2019. Average rent in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area was higher than the provincial average at $2,881. The rest of Manitoba was lower at $2,648.
There were 52 facilities surveyed in Manitoba in 2020 containing a total of:
- 5,043 spaces
- 5,507 resident.
Saskatchewan’s number decreased
The vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing across Saskatchewan decreased from 16.7% in 2019 to 15.0%.
In the Regina Census Metropolitan Area, vacancy rates for standard spaces was 16.2% compared to 14.5% for the Saskatoon Census Metropolitan Area.
The overall average rent for a standard retirement space was $3,105 in 2020 compared to $3,034 one year earlier. However, the largest universe was in spaces renting for $3,500 and more at 33.9% of the total universe.
Demand for seniors’ housing was strong as the number of residents increased from 7,068 in 2019 to 7,680 in 2020. The Saskatoon Census Metropolitan Area accounted for the majority of total residents with 3,498 residents.
Alberta’s vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing increased
The vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing increased in Alberta from 13.8% in 2019 to 15.1%. Across Alberta, vacancy rates were the highest among Bachelor units at 18.6%.
The largest vacancy rate increase occurred in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area.
It rose from 9.7% in 2019 to 12.6% in 2020. Comparatively, the vacancy rate in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area increased from 15.0% in 2019 to 15.9% in 2020.
The average rent for a standard space in Alberta increased from $3,258 in 2019 to $3,270 in 2020. Average rents in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area were $3,945 compared to $2,884 in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area.
There were 14,852 seniors’ housing spaces in Alberta:
- 5,670 spaces in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area
- 5,295 in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area
British Columbia’s vacancy rate for independent living spaces increased
For the second consecutive year, the vacancy rate for independent living spaces, increased from 4.2% in 2019 to 5.1% in 2020. Vacancy rates ranged across regions. From a high of 7.6% in Okanagan/Thompson/Shuswap to a low of 3.4% in Vancouver Island/Central Coast.
The average rent for an independent living space in British Columbia was $3,364 in 2020 compared to $3,275 in 2019. The Lower Mainland posted the highest rents at $3,722.
Affordable independent living spaces continue to see high demand in British Columbia. Units with average rents less than $1,900 saw the lowest vacancy rates at 3.4%.
There were an additional 664 spaces added across BC in 2020. The majority of new spaces were added in the Vancouver Island/Central Coast region.
At the same time, demand was strong in the Vancouver Island/Central Coast region. This region added 379 residents between 2019 and 2020, the largest increase across British Columbia.
Atlantic Canada’s standard spaces in seniors’ housing increased
The vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing in Atlantic Canada increased from 8.6% in 2019 to 10.6% in 2020. Rates varied ranging from a low of 3.4% in Nova Scotia to a high of 22.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island saw declines in vacancy rate. It increased slightly in New Brunswick and significantly in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Vacancy rates dropped for all bedroom types except ward/semi-private rooms. Vacancy rates were lower the bigger the living spaces. Two-bedroom units had the lowest vacancy rate of 4.0% in Atlantic Canada.
Consequently, vacancy rates dropped the most for relatively more expensive spaces with average rent between $3,000 – $3,499
The average rent for a standard space in Atlantic Canada was $2,858 in 2020 representing a 3.0% increase from $2,774.
The total supply of seniors’ housing declined by 4%, to 10,031 spaces, in 2020. This matches the drop in demand in most provinces except Nova Scotia. The number of spaces in Nova Scotia increased 6% while the number of residents increased 13%.
The composition of senior housing in Nova Scotia is quite different from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Nova Scotia has the highest proportion (85%) of standard spaces compared to 46% for the other three provinces. It also has a significantly higher proportion of one and two-bedroom spaces (68%) compared to 40% for the other provinces.