Tuesday, December 12, 2006

State of Canada's Housing

Housing progress reveals significant improvements in housing conditions in Canada. Whether measured in terms of the improved features and physical condition of their homes, or increased rates of homeownership, Canadians have been the beneficiaries of substantial improvements in their housing.

The housing sector made a significant contribution to the Canadian economy in 2005, with strong employment growth, rising incomes and low mortgage rates fuelling sustained housing demand and high levels of new construction, resales, renovation and mortgage lending activity.

In 1941, many Canadian homes lacked basic indoor plumbing, including piped running water (39 %), flush toilets (44 %) or baths or showers (55 %) -- "features almost universally present today."

Over the same period, marked improvements took place in the condition of Canadian homes and in levels of home ownership. Homes in need of major repair declined to 8 % from 27 %. The proportion of households who own their homes increased to two-thirds from just over half.

Key housing findings in Canada:
  • Home ownership was up 4.5 % and renters declined 4.8 % between 1990 and 2004.
  • Housing construction is strong despite a slowing population growth and aging population.
  • Immigration accounts for about two-thirds of population growth in Canada, and nearly 60 % of new immigrants interviewed said they plan to buy a home in the next few years.
  • The new-home market remained buoyant in 2005 with housing starts registering their second strongest showing in 18 years. At 225,500, last year was the fourth straight year in which starts crossed the 200,000-unit threshold.
  • Existing home sales reached a 5th straight high in 2005, with the average sales price up more than 10 % while renovation spending set a new high in 2005, at $40 billion.
  • The rental market stabilized in 2005 with most major centers recording only modest changes in average rents and vacancy rates.
  • The value of mortgages approved in 2005 was up 10.9 % to $182.1 billion; the average value was $145,000, an increase of 8.8 % from 2004.


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