Significant regional variances in senior housing activity were apparent over the past year, according to recent market analysis by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
In its latest regional reports for the asset class, the Crown corporation said that the vacancy rate for seniors’ residences went up over the past year in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The trend went in the opposite direction in other provinces, decreasing in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.
BC stood out as its overall vacancy rate for standard spaces (independent living spaces increased for the first time since 2012, from 3% in 2018 to 4.2% in 2019. Meanwhile, the province’s vacancy rate for non-standard spaces (where residents receive at least 1.5 hours of care each day) fell from 2.1% in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019. Spaces with rent rates at $1,900 and lower saw intensified demand, with the lowest vacancy rates across all ranges.
In Ontario, vacancy rates for both standard spaces and overall seniors’ housing remained relatively unchanged, at 10.3% and a record low of 9.9%, respectively. Standard spaces posted an average rent increase of 3.9% annually, reaching $3,759.
Quebec saw its vacancy rate for standard spaces grow from 6.9% last year to 7.2% in 2019, with an average monthly rent of $1,788. Non-standard spaces also had higher vacancy, 5.7% in 2019.
Alberta vacancies in the asset class fell from 15.4% in 2018 to 13.8% in 2019. Standard senior’s housing vacancy in Calgary shrunk from 18.9% to 15.0%, while the rate in Edmonton increased from 9.1% to 9.7%. As for non-standard spaces, the provincial vacancy rate spiked up from 4.0% in 2018 to 7.4% this year, fuelled by significant increases in Calgary and Edmonton.