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Canadian Housing Statistics Program, 2019

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Released: 2020-10-28

Today, the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) is releasing revised data on housing for the 2018 reference year and new data for the 2019 reference year. It is also expanding its coverage of Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia. Thanks to these new data, Canadians can monitor the evolution of the housing market from the provincial to the municipal levels in these three provinces.

From 2016 to 2018, taxes were introduced in parts of Ontario and British Columbia on properties purchased by foreign buyers. The data released today show that the share of residential properties owned by non-residents remained stable in those two provinces from 2018 to 2019, though it did change in certain segments of the housing market.

Moreover, new data also show that the housing stock in Ontario and British Columbia grew at a faster pace in regions outside the core of major census metropolitan areas (CMAs). It also posted stronger growth in urban areas than in rural areas in both provinces, as well as in Nova Scotia.

Rates of non-resident property ownership are stable at the provincial level

In Ontario and British Columbia, the non-resident ownership rates were unchanged at the provincial level in 2019 compared with 2018. In Nova Scotia, the non-resident ownership rate was stable between the two years.

In 2019, the CMA with the highest rate of non-resident ownership in British Columbia was Vancouver, with 4.3%. This was up slightly from 4.2% in 2018. In the Toronto CMA, which had the largest number of properties in Ontario owned by non-residents, the rate of non-resident ownership (2.6%) remained unchanged from 2018.

The Greater Vancouver A census subdivision (CSD) had the highest non-resident ownership rate in the Vancouver CMA in both 2018 and 2019. However, the rate of properties owned by non-residents edged down 0.4% from 2018 to 14.6% in 2019.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Non-resident ownership rates were stable in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia from 2018 to 2019
Non-resident ownership rates were stable in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia from 2018 to 2019

In Nova Scotia, non-resident ownership is more prevalent outside Halifax

In Nova Scotia, regions outside the Halifax CMA continued to post the highest proportion of properties owned by non-residents in 2019 (4.6%). The non-resident ownership rate of single-detached houses outside Halifax (3.7%) was almost twice the rate as in the Halifax CMA (1.9%). Provincially, the proportion of vacant land owned by non-residents was down slightly from 2018 (-0.4%), but continued to be the property type with the highest non-resident ownership rate (7.7%).

Non-residents still more likely to own newer condominium apartments

The non-resident ownership rates of the housing stock remained stable in the three provinces, although some variations were observed in specific segments compared with 2018. In 2018, non-resident owners were more likely to own condominium apartments than other property types in the Vancouver and Toronto CMAs. This trend held in 2019, especially for newer condominium apartments, for which the rate of non-resident ownership increased slightly in both CMAs.

In the Vancouver CMA, the non-resident ownership rate of condominium apartments built since 2016 rose from 12.9% to 13.6%. Conversely, the rate for condominium apartments built before 2016 edged down 0.1% to 6.7%. A similar trend was observed in the Toronto CMA, where the share of condominium apartments built since 2016 and owned by non-residents rose from 7.3% to 7.7%. By comparison, the proportion of condominium apartments built before 2016 and owned by non-residents was unchanged at 5.9%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Non-resident ownership of newer condominium apartments rose slightly in the Toronto and Vancouver census metropolitan areas (CMAs)
Non-resident ownership of newer condominium apartments rose slightly in the Toronto and Vancouver census metropolitan areas (CMAs)

Housing stock in urban areas is growing faster than in rural areas

The housing stock in all three provinces grew at a faster pace in urban centres—defined here as CMAs and census agglomerations (CAs)—than in rural areas. This trend was also seen in the population estimates published by Statistics Canada's Centre for Demography, which indicated that population growth in CMAs and CAs was higher than in other regions.

In Ontario, the housing stock grew by 1.3% in CMAs and CAs, almost double the rate (+0.7%) of growth in regions outside CMAs and CAs. A similar trend was also observed in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Faster growth of housing stock in urban areas from 2018 to 2019
Faster growth of housing stock in urban areas from 2018 to 2019

Bigger gains in large metropolitan areas outside the core

In 2019, the housing stock posted bigger gains in municipalities (referring to CSDs) located outside the core of larger CMAs, a trend also seen in Statistics Canada's population estimates.

In the Vancouver CMA, the number of residential properties (excluding vacant land) rose faster in the CSDs of Langley, District Municipality (+2.5%), Surrey (+2.3%) and Burnaby (+2.3%) than in the core CSD of Vancouver (+1.7%). Overall, the strongest growth in the Vancouver CMA occurred in the Greater Vancouver A CSD (+7.6%). The same trend was also observed in the Victoria CMA, where growth in the Langford (+4.0%), Colwood (+3.2%) and Sooke (+2.7%) CSDs was higher than in the Victoria CSD (+1.3%).

A similar trend was observed in the Toronto CMA, where the housing stock in the suburbs increased at a higher rate than in the Toronto CSD. This growth was greatest in the CSDs of East Gwillimbury (+12.4%) and New Tecumseth (+5.1%), both situated more than 50 kilometres from downtown Toronto. Single-detached houses made up most of the increase in these CSDs. Similarly, the housing stock grew more rapidly in the suburban CSDs of Oakville (+3.5%) and Brampton (+2.8%) than in the Toronto CSD (+1.2%). Condominium apartments accounted for most of the increase in Oakville, while single-detached houses contributed to the bulk of the growth in Brampton.

Map 1  Thumbnail for map 1: Suburban areas leading growth in the Vancouver census metropolitan area housing market
Suburban areas leading growth in the Vancouver census metropolitan area housing market

Map 2  Thumbnail for map 2: Suburban areas leading growth in the Toronto census metropolitan area housing market
Suburban areas leading growth in the Toronto census metropolitan area housing market

The condominium apartment market posts significant gains in Ontario and British Columbia

In Ontario, from 2018 to 2019, the increase in the condominium apartment stock was more than five times the growth of stock of single-detached houses. This is in line with findings from the 2016 Census, which showed that Canadians live increasingly in condominiums in large metropolitan areas. CHSP data show that, from 2018 to 2019, the condominium apartment stock in Ontario increased by 16,240, while the stock of single-detached houses rose by 18,210.

In the Toronto CMA, which accounts for the majority of Ontario's condominium apartment properties, the number of condominium apartments increased by 3.1% compared with an increase of 0.8% for single-detached houses. After the Toronto CMA, in Ontario, the Hamilton CMA showed the second largest increase in the number of condominiums apartments (+4.9%).

In British Columbia, the growth in condominium apartment stock (+3.2%) was more than three times the increase in the rest of the housing stock (+1.0%). In the Vancouver CMA, where almost three-quarters of all condominium apartments in the province are situated, the number of condominium apartments rose by 8,365, almost twice the increase in the rest of the housing stock (+4,480).

Chart 4  Chart 4: The condominium apartment and row house markets grew rapidly in Ontario from 2018 to 2019
The condominium apartment and row house markets grew rapidly in Ontario from 2018 to 2019

  Note to readers

New time series for Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia

With today's release, the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) has created the program's first time series. It also includes revisions for the 2018 reference year. Revisions were done to improve data quality and coherence between provinces and reference years.

Data are subject to revision

The CHSP is a program in development that uses administrative data exclusively. As a result, any changes that data providers make to data processing and classification must be addressed and mitigated to ensure data quality.

The data processing methodologies used by the CHSP continue to be improved as the program evolves. These changes may occasionally result in data revisions and could affect comparability over time and between provinces.

For the 2019 reference year, the BC Assessment Authority reassessed a large portion of residential properties, which led to their structure type being reclassified. This change affected single-detached houses, semi-detached houses, row houses, and properties with multiple residential units in particular. Consequently, comparisons of the characteristics of these property types between the 2018 and 2019 reference years has become limited.

Data on the living area of properties in British Columbia are suppressed for 2019. Similarly, data on the living area of condominium apartments in Nova Scotia are currently unavailable. In Ontario, assessment values for properties built since the last assessment year (2016) are suppressed.

Reference years

Data for a given reference year reflect the stock of properties on the property assessment roll in each province or territory that year. Each assessment agency applies its own reference date to the creation of municipal assessment rolls.

Geographical boundaries

The CHSP is now disseminating data based on the geographic boundaries from the 2016 Census, whereas previous releases used 2018 geographic boundaries. As a result, census subdivision (CSD) names have been updated. This release highlights trends for Greater Vancouver A, which was previously called Metro Vancouver A.

Definitions

Housing stock refers to all residential properties in a given geographic region, excluding vacant land.

The core of a geographic area, for the purposes of this release, refers to the CSD within a census metropolitan area (CMA) with the highest number of residential properties.

Rural area, for the purposes of this release, refers to a CSD outside CMAs and census agglomerations.

Suburb refers to a CSD outside the core (as defined above) of a CMA.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jean-Philippe Deschamps-Laporte (343-998-7200; jean-philippe.deschamps-laporte@canada.ca).

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