Available space in B.C., Ontario seniors’ housing steadily falling

Over the past year, the available housing space for seniors in British Columbia and Ontario has steadily gone downward, according to new data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In B.C., while the number of total seniors’ spaces grew by 340 units over the past year, overall vacancy for independent living in seniors’ residences stood at 3.0% in 2018 so far, compared to the 4.5% during the same time in 2017.

Monthly rental rates for B.C.’s independent living spaces increased by 3.3% year-over-year, a trend brought about by growing demand and operation costs.

“A growing seniors’ population continues to drive demand for seniors’ housing. Price increases in the resale market over the past few years in many regions have supported some seniors’ ability to move into independent and heavy care spaces,” CMHC senior market analyst for B.C. Keith Stewart said.

Read more: End-users flooding condo market to detriment of renters

In Ontario, the volume of senior housing increased by 3,500 units, the strongest growth since 2001. Despite this, however, the overall vacancy rate fell to a record low of 9.9% in 2018, from 10.3% last year. Average rent rose by 2.6% year-over-year.

“Even with the largest increase in supply this year, the vacancy rate trended lower as demand outpaced supply. The accelerating growth in the older population and the increasing acceptance of seniors’ housing living, especially among seniors aged 85 and older, continued to drive demand for seniors housing,” CMHC senior market analyst for Ontario Penny Wu stated.


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