CMHC: Core housing need remains stable in Canada

Culling data from the 2016 Census, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Statistics Canada has announced that rate of core housing need in Canada stood at 12.7%, representing 1.7 million households.

This indicates that the proportion of Canadian households in housing need has remained stable since 2006. CMHC defines “core housing need” as the indicator for identifying households not living in, and not able to access, acceptable housing – that is, households in dwellings considered inadequate in condition, not suitable in size, and unaffordable.

Read more: Toronto's ‘puzzling’ market might stymie affordability policy solutions – CMHC

However, “while the proportion of Canadian households living in core housing need has remained stable over the last ten years, different trends exist among provinces and territories,” according to Benjamin Williams, Director of Housing Indicators and Analytics for CMHC.

“Between 2011 and 2016, housing conditions have worsened in the Prairies region and in Ontario, and improved in Quebec, British Columbia and in most of the Atlantic region. Core housing need was prevalent in the territories; the rate in Nunavut remained the highest in the country at 36.5%.”

The core housing need rate in British Columbia stood at 14.9%. In stark contrast, the situation for Quebec households has improved by the largest proportion, bringing the overall rate to a historical low of 9.0% (an absolute reduction of more than 40,000 households compared to 2011).

“Affordability, especially for renters, remained a key challenge for Canadians. Census data indicate that, except for Alberta, the provinces that experienced an increase in core housing need also saw average shelter costs grow faster than average incomes,” CMHC added.

The Crown corporation said that it will continue to release detailed data tables and analysis as these become available in the coming weeks and months. Interested parties can visit Statistics Canada’s Census Program Data Viewer and the Census dictionary for further reference.


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