“Vacancy rates and rent levels in the seniors’ housing market are higher” CMHC


OTTAWA – The vacancy rate in seniors’ residences surveyed in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) National Seniors’ Housing Survey increased from 9.2 per cent in 2009 to 10.8 per cent in 2010, according to CMHC’s Seniors’ Housing Report, Canada Highlights edition.

“Vacancy rates and rent levels in the seniors’ housing market are higher than those in the traditional rental market,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. “Seniors’ residences provide a wide variety of amenities and services to their tenants. These services and amenities contribute to rents that are higher than in the traditional rental market. These higher rents, coupled with more frequent turn-over, result in higher vacancy rates.”

The national vacancy rate applies to standard spaces, which are defined as:

  • private units such as a bachelor, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments occupied by a single individual or a couple; one unit is considered as one standard space;
  • semi-private units (one unit is considered as two standard spaces);
  • ward units (one unit is considered as three standard spaces or more).

The vacancy rate is calculated for all standard spaces regardless of whether the occupant participates in a meal plan or requires medical services. The vacancy rate covers only spaces that accommodate residents who receive less than 1.5 hours of care per day.

Vacancy rates varied considerably across the country, from a low of 6.2 per cent in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to a high of 18.1 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador. The vacancy rates for standard spaces in Ontario (16.4 per cent), Nova Scotia (15 per cent) and Alberta (12.2 per cent) were above the national average of 10.8 per cent, while the rates in British Columbia (10.4 per cent), Quebec (8.4 per cent), Manitoba (7.9 per cent), and Prince Edward Island (7.1 per cent) were below the national average.

The average rent for bachelor/private units, where at least one meal is included in the rent, was $1,857 per month. Quebec posted the lowest average rent at $1,329, while Ontario posted the highest average rent at $2,585.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making vital decisions.

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