Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

July 05, 2011 08:15 ET

2011 Seniors' Housing Survey

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 5, 2011) - According to the latest survey of retirement homes conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the vacancy rate for standard spaces (places that require less than an hour and a half of medical care per day) remained relatively stable in Quebec in 2011. The vacancy rate amounted to 8.1 per cent in February compared to 8.4 per cent over the same period in 2010.

"The fact that the vacancy rate remained stable despite the slowdown in the construction of new residences reflects the temporary slowdown in demand which we have often discussed in recent years," said Kevin Hughes, Senior Economist at CMHC for the province of Quebec.

"On the supply side, we observe a slowdown in housing starts. On the demand side, in addition to the phenomenon of slowing population growth, the steady increase of new substitute products also helps to keep vacancy rates at their current levels. The traditional rental market and that of condominiums available for rent are also able to meet the needs of some elderly clients, which hinders demand on the retirement home market," added Kevin Hughes.

In 2011, the market for rooms with heavy care has tightened again: the vacancy rate, which went from 11.7 per cent in 2009 to 7.1 per cent in 2010, fell to 2.8 per cent this year. These are places where residents receive more than an hour and a half of medical care per day. The survey counts approximately 5,000 places with heavy care, which represents just over 5 per cent of the universe of inquiry. As for the average rent, it is estimated at $ 2,621.

Again this year, the results of the retirement home survey differ greatly from one census metropolitan area (CMA) to another. Like last year, the Saguenay region has the lowest vacancy rates for standard spaces (4.6 per cent) among the six CMAs in Quebec and the Gatineau region which is faced with the highest (19.3 per cent). The result recorded in the Montreal area is similar to the provincial average, while Trois-Rivières and Québec stand out, with a rate of 6.6 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively. Finally, the Sherbrooke CMA posts a rate of 7.0 per cent (see Table).

"Given the importance of local supply and demand conditions, this phenomenon is not surprising. For example, the sudden opening of a residence in a less populated area can often raise the vacancy rate to a high level. Moreover, the housing preferences of seniors in a given region may limit the demand - and supply - of residences," added Kevin Hughes.

Estimated at 17.6 per cent, the capture rate (the proportion of people aged 75 and over living in a residence) did not changed since the previous year. "It will be important to monitor the capture rate over the next decades, as it will assess the extent to which retirement homes capture the attention of the baby boomer cohort," noted Kevin Hughes.

According to the 2011 survey, the average rent for a standard place in a retirement home amounted to $ 1,466. This estimate is comparable to the average rent of a private room as well as of a one-bedroom apartment, segments that make up a significant market share. The two-bedroom apartment segment present an average rent of $ 1,855 according to the 2011 survey. With an average rent of $ 1,286, the bachelor segment is the most affordable.

In Quebec, the market for retirement homes is much more developed than anywhere else in the country. Indeed, the more than 92,000 places which are part of the 2011 survey amount to about half of the Canadian total. Even Ontario, which has a population aged 75 and over that is one and a half times that of Quebec, counts half that number. "Moreover, the capture rate (18 per cent against an average of 5 per cent for the rest of Canada) clearly shows the relative popularity of this type of housing in Quebec," concluded Kevin Hughes.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. 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 vital decisions. For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

A graphic and tables are available at the following addresses:

Contact Information

  • Province
    Kevin Hughes
    Regional Economist CMHC

    Bertrand Recher
    Senior Market Analyst

    Elisabeth Koulouris
    Senior Market Analyst

    Gatineau (Outaouais, Abitibi)
    Francis Cortellino
    Senior Market Analyst

    Sherbrooke (Estrie)
    Francis Cortellino
    Senior Market Analyst

    Trois-Rivieres (Mauricie)
    Marie-Elaine Denis
    Market Analyst

    Sebastien Paquet-Poirier
    Market Analyst