The vacancy rate for seniors’ residences increased over the past year in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Québec and Nova Scotia, while decreasing in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland according to the regional Seniors’ Housing Reports released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
The reports give descriptions and analysis of seniors’ housing markets in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and Atlantic Canada. This release provides key highlights for each of these regional reports.
CMHC conducts the annual Seniors’ Housing Survey in February and March. The survey covers all centres in each of the ten provinces. Both private and non-profit residences are included in the survey universe.
The survey looks at two types of spaces: standard and non-standard. 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. Residents living in a non-standard space receive at least 1.5 hours of high-level care per day. Examples of conditions that could require high-level care include Alzheimer’s, dementia and reduced mobility. Respite and non-market spaces are also non-standard.
- The overall vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ residence across British Columbia increased for the first time since 2012, from 3% in 2018 to 4.2% in 2019. The vacancy rate for non-standard spaces, decreased from 2.1% in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019, with the largest decline reported in the Vancouver Island/Central Coast region.
- Spaces with low rent (<$1,900) were under high demand as the vacancy rate was the lowest amongst all rent ranges. This is a shift from 2018, when the lowest vacancy rate was recorded in spaces with rents between $2,900 and $4,900.
- Average rent for standard space increased by 5.4% to $3,275 in 2019. Among all unit types, the highest rent increase was 22% in bachelor/studio units, since most regions saw a decline in the number of such units in 2019.
- The overall vacancy rate for a standard space in retirement homes in Alberta decreased from 15.4% in 2018 to 13.8% in 2019. The standard vacancy rate in Calgary decreased from 18.9% to 15.0%, while Edmonton increased from 9.1% to 9.7%.
- The vacancy rate for non-standard spaces in Alberta increased from 4.0% in 2018 to 7.4% in 2019. Calgary, Edmonton, and the rest of Alberta all experienced increases in vacancy rates for these types of units.
- The average monthly rent for a standard space in Alberta decreased from $3,296 in 2018 to $3,258 in 2019.
- The average rent for non-standard spaces in Alberta increased in 2019, driven by higher rents in Edmonton.
- The vacancy rate for a standard space in retirement homes in Saskatchewan increased for a second consecutive year to 16.7% in 2019 from 15.4% in 2018. Likewise, the overall vacancy rate for total spaces in the province edged up to 13.9% from 13.3% the previous year.
- Across the province, the vacancy rate for standard spaces was highest in residences that opened in 2000 or later. These also charged a higher average monthly rent for standard spaces.
- The overall monthly rent in Saskatchewan for a standard space increased to $3,034 in 2019 from $3,026 in 2018.
- The overall vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing decreased to 3.0% in 2019 from 4.8% in 2018. The overall vacancy rate for total senior spaces also decreased to 2.8% in 2019 from 4.3% in the previous year.
- The overall average rent in Manitoba for a standard space was $2,819 in 2019 compared to $2,733 in 2018.
- The average rent in the Winnipeg CMA was marginally higher than the provincial average at $2,831 in 2019.
- The vacancy rate for standard spaces remained relatively unchanged dropping to 10.3% in 2019 from 10.4% the previous year. The vacancy rate for total spaces remained unchanged at a record low of 9.9%.
- Total supply of seniors’ housing grew by 2.4% to 62,633 spaces in 2019, matching the growth in demand.
- The average rent for a standard space increased by 3.9% to $3,759.
- The vacancy rate for standard spaces in Québec stood at 7.2% in 2019, compared to 6.9% in 2018. The average monthly rent for standard spaces was $1,788.
- The capture rate in Québec was 18.4% in 2019, contrasting sharply with the overall rate of just 6.1% for the other Canadian provinces.
- The vacancy rate for non-standard spaces in Québec rose to 5.7% in 2019.
- The vacancy rate for standard spaces increased 4.1% to 10.3%; it is the highest rate in the region.
- There are 1,586 spaces, the second lowest number of spaces in Atlantic Canada but does have the highest proportion of standard spaces at 92%.
- The supply of standard spaces increased by 20% while the number of residents decreased by 9%. One-bedroom units remained the most popular, constituting 59% of total spaces. Overall, average rents declined 1.4% to $3,141.
- With supply decreasing faster than demand, the vacancy rate for standard spaces decreased by 1% to 8.3%.
- There are 3,740 spaces in the province, the number of standard spaces decreased 14% and the number of residents decreased by 6%.
- The province has seen a 19% increase in the average rent of standard spaces; however, rent remains the most affordable in Atlantic Canada.
Prince Edward Island
- The vacancy rate for the more affordable ward/semi-private standard spaces dropped significantly from 23.3% to 2.7% despite the number of these units increasing by 106% and rents increasing by 34%.
- The overall average rent for standard spaces increased 2% and is the highest in Atlantic Canada at $3,335.
- The total number of spaces was unchanged but there were more standard and less non-standard spaces compared to 2018. The overall vacancy rate dropped from 8.4% to 7.5%.
- The vacancy rate is the lowest in Atlantic Canada, seeing a 13% drop to 7.3%.
- The proportion of standard spaces offering rents higher than $2,500 was 59% compared to 49% in 2018 as the number of more affordable ward/semi-private standard spaces dropped by 70%.
- Overall average rent for standard spaces increased 8% to $3,003.
As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry.
CMHC Media Relations