Big demand for senior residential units

With an aging population, investors should look to seniors’ residences for solid investments, especially as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reports a drop in the national vacancy rate to 9.7 per cent for 2014.

“While the total number of spaces for seniors increased in 2014, this was slightly outpaced by an increase in the total number of residents,” says Bruno Duhamel, manager of housing and economic analysis for the CMHC. “This led to a slight decrease in the overall vacancy rate in 2014.”

The number of rooms available for rent in seniors’ residences increased by 5.2 per cent to 219,052 units in 2014, while the number of residents increased by 6.2 per cent to 218,650. As a result, the vacancy rate fell to 9.7 per cent in 2014, from 10.3 percent in 2013.

Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario recorded the highest vacancy rates for standard spaces where residents do not require more than 1.5 hours of care, at 22.6 per cent and 13.9 per cent, respectively. The lowest vacancy rates were recorded in Manitoba (4.6 per cent) and in Quebec (7.5 per cent).

Investors will also be happy to know that rent for standard spaces also increased across the country, rising 2.4 per cent to $2,043 per month. Average rent is the lowest in Quebec and Manitoba -  $1,497 per month and $1,815 per month, respectively – and highest in Prince Edward Island and Ontario, at $2,782 and $2, 776 per month, respectively.

Vacancy rates in heavy care spaces – which offer expanded services for residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s, mobility issues and other health problems – were relatively flat, with declines in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec offset by rises in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

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