Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

November 16, 2009 23:59 ET

Key Report: 2009 Canadian Housing Observer Released by CMHC

OTTAWA, Nov. 16 - Innovative approaches developed by the private sector, not-for-profit sector and all levels of government are increasingly driving the production of affordable housing, particularly for low-income households, reports the 2009 Canadian Housing Observer, released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"The 2009 Canadian Housing Observer is unique in providing a comprehensive annual examination of the key factors influencing the development of housing, a vital sector for Canada," said Karen Kinsley, President of CMHC.

The 2009 Observer, CMHC's flagship publication, details the private sector's innovations in producing affordable housing, including providing direct support to tenants or homeowners through interest-free loans and measures to reduce housing costs through creative approaches to design, construction and renovation.

For their part, not-for-profit organizations are finding ways to provide affordable housing without on-going government support. For example, the Habitat for Humanity model is based on the concept of "partnership housing" where the potential homeowners contribute sweat equity and work alongside community volunteers and businesses to build homes.

Some municipal governments are also adopting new housing policies, including housing trust funds, donating land for affordable housing and reducing or waiving municipal fees.

Underpinning these efforts is support from federal and provincial/territorial governments, through flexible agreements that allow for innovative ideas, as well as financial and in-kind contributions.

Other key findings in this year's Observer include: - Nationally, the incidence of core housing need decreased from 13.7 per cent in 2001 to 12.7 per cent in 2006, with most regions in the country following the national trend; - The effects of the aging of Canada's population over the next three decades and the important implications this will have on homebuilders, mortgage lenders and policy makers; - The effect of immigration on population and household growth will become increasingly important; - Housing starts were above the 200,000 unit level for the seventh consecutive year and housing-related spending contributed just over $300 billion to the Canadian economy in 2008; - A water-sensitive approach to urban design is an important part of efforts to encourage the development of healthy, energy-efficient sustainable homes and communities.

In addition to the Observer, CMHC offers detailed online statistical housing information and analysis. This includes CMHC's Housing in Canada Online interactive tool.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable homes-homes that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities across the country. For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

Backgrounder - 2009 CMHC Canadian Housing Observer Highlights Affordable Housing, Chapter 2 ----------------------------- - The private sector has developed a wide range of tools to produce affordable housing, ranging from direct support to tenants or homeowner through subsidies, interest-free loans and second mortgages to measures aimed at reducing the overall cost of housing. Many non- profit organizations are also finding ways to provide affordable housing without on-going government support. - Under the Affordable Housing Initiative, the federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, provides contributions to increase the supply of affordable housing. As of December 31, 2008, more than 41,000 units had been completed under this initiative. Demographic and Socio-economic Influences on Housing Demand, Chapter 3 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- - The aging of Canada's population over the next three decades will have important implications for home builders, mortgage lenders, government policy makers and other housing market participants. - Immigration has been a key factor influencing population growth in Canada and will become increasingly important in the coming decades. Current Market Developments, Chapter 4 -------------------------------------- - Gains in new construction were recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador (23.1 %), Saskatchewan (13.7%), Ontario (10.2 %) and New Brunswick (0.8 %). Decreases were recorded in Alberta (-39.7 %), Nova Scotia (-16.2 %), British Columbia (-12.4 %), Prince Edward Island (-5.1 %), Manitoba (-3.5 %), and Quebec (-1.3 %). - The sustained performance of the housing market, employment and income growth, and very low interest rates have contributed to the strength in renovation spending in recent years. Housing Finance, Chapter 5 -------------------------- - Canada's housing finance system has exhibited remarkable resiliency during the global financial crisis. - This is due in part to prudent lending and mortgage insurance practices, new policies implemented, and the fact that mortgages in excess of 80 % require mortgage insurance by legislation. Sustainable, Healthy Communities and Water, Chapter 6 ----------------------------------------------------- - Water-Sensitive Urban Design is a form of urban design that integrates urban planning with the protection and conservation of the water cycle. - A number of provinces (e.g. British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan) have already included, or are in the process of including water efficiency in both their provincial water strategies and building code regulations. Recent Trends in Affordability and Core Housing Need, Chapter 7 --------------------------------------------------------------- - Following the national trend, most regions in the country experienced improvements in core housing need between 2001 and 2006. - Most Census Metropolitan Areas (28 out of 33) experienced a decrease in their respective incidences of core housing need between 2001 and 2006. Housing Research, Chapter 8 --------------------------- - Housing research can contribute significantly to ensuring our stock of housing can meet the needs of current and future generations. - For governments at all levels, housing research contributes to sound decision-making, can guide program and policy development, as well as help to increase the accountability and efficiency of spending.

Contact Information

  • Media inquiries: Charles Sauriol, Senior Media Relations Officer, CMHC, (613) 748-2799, Cell. (613) 816-5978