Highlights from Canada’s seniors’ housing market
Vacancy rates for seniors’ housing have varied across Canada this year. Still, there have been some regional trends and exceptions. In Atlantic Canada, for example, vacancy rates have hovered between 7% and 11%. In the Prairies, meanwhile, they’ve trended higher, between 13% and 17% in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Manitoba was a notable exception, with a vacancy rate of just 2.8% in 2019.
We’ve just released the Seniors’ Housing Reports for 2019. These annual reports provide descriptions and analysis of the seniors’ housing market in the following 7 regions:
- British Columbia
- Atlantic Canada
Highlights from Canada’s seniors’ housing market:
- The vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing across Quebec increased from 6.9% in 2018 to 7.2% in 2019.
- The vacancy rate for heavy care spaces, meanwhile, rose to 5.7%.
- Market conditions and changes in vacancy rates differed by region, however.
- The average rent for a standard space was $1,788 in 2019.
- The capture rate across the province was 18.4% in 2019. This was in sharp contrast with the rate of 6.1% for the other provinces in Canada.
- The vacancy rate for standard spaces in seniors’ housing changed little, dropping from 10.4% in 2018 to 10.3% in 2019. The vacancy rate for total spaces remained unchanged, at a record low of 9.9%.
- The 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 seniors’ housing across Manitoba decreased from 4.8% in 2018 to 3.0% in 2019. The vacancy rate for total spaces also decreased, from 4.3% to 2.8%.
- In the Winnipeg census metropolitan area (CMA), both rates were the same as the provincial averages.
- The average rent for a standard space in Manitoba was $2,819 in 2019, compared to $2,733 in 2018. In the Winnipeg CMA, the average rent was slightly higher than the provincial average, at $2,831.
- Demand for seniors’ housing remained strong. The number of residents increased to 5,465 in 2019, compared to 5,238 in the previous survey. In the Winnipeg CMA, the number of residents increased, but decreased in the rest of the province.
British Columbia (B.C.)
- For the first time since 2012, the vacancy rate for independent living spaces increased, from 3% in 2018 to 4.2% in 2019. This increase was also recorded across all unit types. However, for heavy care spaces, the vacancy rate decreased from 2.1% in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019.
- There was high demand for spaces with low rents (under $1,900 per month). The vacancy rate for these spaces was the lowest among all rent ranges. This is a shift from 2018, when the lowest vacancy rate was recorded for spaces with rents between $2,900 and $4,900.
- There were 324 new living spaces added across B.C. in 2019, 40% of which were located on Vancouver Island / Central Coast. About half of B.C.’s 277 added residents were also located in that same region.
- The average rent for independent living spaces increased by 5.4%, to $3,275, in 2019. Among all unit types, the highest rent increase was 22%, for bachelor/studio units.