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CMHC Comprehensive Report on Housing in Canada

By Robert Hof

OTTAWA, December 18, 2013 — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) today released the 2013 Canadian Housing Observer, its detailed annual review on the state of housing in Canada.

“The Observer is unrivalled in its detailed analysis of housing conditions and developments that influence housing finance and housing markets in Canada,” said Douglas A. Stewart, Interim President of CMHC. “The Observer provides insight into Canadian residential mortgage practices and other key trends, while underscoring the important role of housing in Canada’s economy.”

The 2013 Observer examines important housing highlights including:

  • According to the recently released 2011 National Household Survey 19% of condominium owners in Canada were under the age of 35 and 29% were seniors 65 or older. Women made up 65% of condominium owner-occupants who lived alone including 76% of those aged 55 and older (see attached backgrounder for additional information on the condominium share of the homeownership market for selected centres in Canada);
  • Households in Canada continue to get smaller, shrinking from an average of 3.5 persons in 1971 to 2.5 in 2011.  People living alone accounted for 28% of households in 2011, more than double their share in 1971;
  • Household formation is the principal driver of the demand for new housing construction.  By 2036, between 3.6 million and 7 million new households are projected in Canada.
  • The inventories of completed and unoccupied housing units per 10,000 people, at 4.7, remained close to the historical average of 4.6, suggesting that the housing market is not oversupplied at the national level;
  • The rate of Canadian residential mortgages that were three months or more in arrears continued to trend downward; declining to 0.31% (below one-third of 1%) in June 2013, compared to the average of 0.41% in 2011.

In addition to a feature article on condominiums, the Observer provides analysis of housing finance, housing markets, demographic and socio-economic influences on housing demand, recent trends in housing affordability and core housing need, and sustainable housing and communities – industrialized housing.

The Observer alsoenables readers to access a wide array of online statistical information on housing conditions from national, regional and local perspectives.

The online publication and data are available at

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 66 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. 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 informed decisions.


Condominium share of homeownership market, Canada, CMAs*, CAs, and other areas, 2011


Owner-occupied condominiums as a % of owner households

Canada 12.6
All CMAs 17.3
All CAs 6.4
Small towns & rural areas 1.8
Vancouver 35.1
Abbotsford – Mission 25.7
Victoria 22.0
Toronto 21.1
Kelowna 19.9
Calgary 18.8
Edmonton 17.8
Montréal 17.1
Ottawa 16.3
Saskatoon 15.6
Hamilton 15.2
Guelph 14.1
Québec 13.9
London 13.6
Regina 10.9
Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo 10.4
Winnipeg 8.4
Gatineau 7.9
Halifax 6.9
Brantford 6.9
Sherbrooke 6.8
Windsor 6.5
Oshawa 6.4
Barrie 6.2
Kingston 6.2
St. Catharines – Niagara 5.7
Trois-Rivières 4.3
Peterborough 4.2
Saguenay 3.9
Moncton 3.8
Thunder Bay 3.5
St. John’s 3.4
Saint John 3.0
Greater Sudbury/Grand Sudbury 1.1

*A Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is an urban area with a total population of at least 100,000 and an urban core population of at least 50,000. A Census Agglomeration (CA) is an urban area that is not a CMA and has an urban core population of at least 10,000.

Quebec and Ontario portions of Ottawa – Gatineau are shown separately.

Source: CMHC, adapted from Statistics Canada (National Household Survey

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