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2018 CMHC Regional Seniors’ Housing Report Highlights

— by Live your retirement in Senior Housing
2018 CMHC regional seniors' housing report

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently released the results of its annual Senior Housing Survey. The 2018 CMHC regional seniors’ housing report covers the provinces of Alberta, Atlantic, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The results include vacancy rates, rents, and other valuable data that concerns retirement homes.

This year’s report revealed interesting facts. In some areas like Quebec, the vacancy rates for heavy care spaces decreased, while for other provinces such as Ontario, the numbers remained the same. Most areas like Manitoba and Alberta experienced a growth in supply. When it comes to average rates, some provinces raised their prices while others stayed stable.

To give you a clearer picture of the 2018 CMHC regional seniors’ housing report, we’re giving you the highlights for the 7 Canadian regions.


According to the recent data, men account for a growing share of total seniors in Ontario. It also appears that men have longer life expectancy than women. Because of these factors, the rising demand for the seniors’ housing in Ontario has been driven by older male seniors aged 85 years and over.

The vacancy rate in Ontario dropped to a record low of 9.9% from 10.3% last year. Meanwhile, the total supply grew by 3,500 spaces, the most since 2001.

The average rent for a standard space in Ontario increased by 2.6% and is now $3,618. Ward/semi-private rooms are priced between 1,832 – 2,467. Bachelor/studio ranges from 2,937 – 3, 269, while one-bedroom units are priced from 3,907 – 4,475. On the other hand, units with two bedrooms cost 4,840 – 5,645.


There’s a strong demand for seniors’ housing in Manitoba. Nearly 500 senior residents entered in retirement homes this year. The good news is, there is enough supply to meet the rising demands and almost 500 spaces were added to the market.

When it comes to pricing, the overall average rent for a standard retirement space in Manitoba is $2,733. In Winnipeg CMA, it’s $2,750.


The overall monthly rate for retirement homes in Saskatchewan rose from $2,880 to $3,026. The number of seniors in residences also increased and almost 300 seniors decided to live in retirement homes. There are now 7,136 residents in Saskatchewan and 6,000 of them are living alone.

The data also shows that the vacancy rate for standard spaces is higher in residences that opened in the year 2000 or later. These establishments also charged higher monthly rents for standard spaces.


The average monthly rate for a standard space in Alberta spiked to $3,296 compared to $3,015 last year. However, the costs for heavy care spaces experienced a decrease. In Calgary, it went from 6,245 down to 5,595. In Edmonton, it’s now 4,588, which is lower compared to 5,426 last year. For the rest of Alberta, the 3,982 average rates lowered to 3,833.

The overall vacancy rate for a standard space in retirement homes in Alberta also rose. It jumped from 10.5% to 15.4% in 2018. Calgary encountered the largest increase, which is up 5.9 percentage points to 18.9%.

One of the reasons for the vacancy rate hike is the increase in the supply of units. Around 1,000 units were added in the senior home’s market.

The demand for senior homes also grew by 4.4% as the number of seniors living in standard spaces went from 12,477 to 13, 030.

British Columbia

The senior population in this area is growing, which increases the demand for seniors’ housing in British Columbia. This affected the overall vacancy rate, dropping to 3.0% from 4.5%.

Data shows that more seniors decided to live independently. The vacancy rate for independent living lowered to 3.0% from 4.5% last year, while the numbers rose for heavy care spaces. From 1.3 % vacancy rate in 2017, it went up to 2.1%.

In addition, there’s a large price increase in the resale market over the past few years in many areas of British Columbia. Because of this, more seniors have now the ability to move into independent and heavy care spaces.

There are about 340 new units in the region and half of these are located in the South Fraser area.


According to Rapport 2018 de la SCHL sur les résidences pour personnes âgées, more and more seniors in this area are seeking heavy care. This pulled down the vacancy rate for heavy care spaces to 4.2%. There’s also a trend that dominates the Quebec senior housing scene, which is the construction of larger sized buildings. Over 75% of spaces in 445 buildings of 90 units and over.

When it comes to rental rates, the average price for standard spaces in Quebec is $1,729 per month. On the apartment side, the rents ranged between $1,425 and $2,222, according to unit size. In the case of room units, the survey shows an average rent of $1,639 for a private room and of $2,210 for a semiprivate room.


In Newfoundland, the total number of spaces rose by 2% in 2018. There are now 3,722 spaces, and 41% of these are standard ones, where residents receive less than 1.5 hours of care per day. The average rent in the region also reached $2,781 this year.

Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, the number of residents increased by 19%. Since the demand is rising faster than the supply, the vacancy rate for standard spaces decreased to 9.3%.

On the other hand, Nova Scotia has the second lowest number of spaces in Atlantic Canada. One-bedroom units have the highest average rent of $3,265 among all units.

In Prince Edward Island, the residents and the supply of spaces increased by 3% but the vacancy rate went up to 8.4%. Bachelor or studio units are the most dominant in the market, constituting 42% of the total spaces. The average rent for all standard spaces in the region is now $3,270.

The Wrap Up

Overall, the 2018 CMHC regional seniors’ housing report is sending a clear message – the industry of retirement homes in Canada is prospering. The demand is going strong, especially in some areas like Ontario and Manitoba. Also, with the rise of the aging population and life expectancy for seniors, it looks like the heavy care spaces will continue to experience lower vacancy rates in the upcoming years. The prices might be moving up for the majority of the areas, but the higher prices usually come with excellent care.

For more information regarding this year’s data, we invite you to take a look at 2018 CMHC’s Regional Seniors’ Housing Report and Rapport 2018 de la SCHL sur les résidences pour personnes âgées.

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