1.7 million Canadian households in inadequate housing Image

1.7 million Canadian households in inadequate housing

By Lucas DeClavasio on Nov 21, 2017

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Statistics Canada released its core housing need report, announcing that 1.7 million households live in core housing need.

Representing 12.7% of Canadian households, this housing need rate is stable from 2006 figures. But, Ontario is a different story. Before we get into that, let us explain what housing need is, as defined by CMHC:

Core housing need is the indicator used in Canada to identify households not living in, and not able to access, acceptable housing. It describes households living in dwellings considered inadequate in condition, not suitable in size, and unaffordable.”

An adequate dwelling is one that requires no major repairs according to the residents. Suitable housing means there are enough bedrooms. And an affordable home is when total shelter costs are less than 30% of before tax household income.

“While the proportion of Canadian households living in core housing need has remained stable over the last ten years, different trends exist among provinces and territories,” says Benjamin Williams, Director, Housing Indicators and Analytics.

“Between 2011 and 2016, housing conditions have worsened in the Prairies region and in Ontario, and improved in Quebec, British Columbia and in most of the Atlantic region.” he adds. “Core housing need was prevalent in the territories; the rate in Nunavut remained the highest in the country at 36.5%.”

Housing need in Canada

In Ontario, one in seven households were in housing need according to the 2016 Census. That’s 130,000 more households compared to 2011, representing a 15.3% share.

It gets even worse in Toronto where the housing need rate hit 20%, making it the highest out of all the Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA). In fact, all of the highest housing need rates were in Ontario, aside from Vancouver and Victoria.

CMHC says that affordability is the key challenge, especially for renters.

This report came out around the same time as CIBC’s market report, which predicts another surge in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing prices in the coming years.

The problem is supply. It’s not that there’s a lack of land, the land just isn’t coming to market quick enough to keep up with demand. Plus, the Growth Plan doesn’t account for higher immigration quotas, which are increasing year after year.

When the Growth Plan was implemented, the immigration quota was 250,000, but now it’s 300,000 and on pace to hit 450,000. If supply can’t keep up with the amount of people moving to the GTA, then affordability is going to get worse.

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