Housing Economic Account: Visualization of housing flows and stock in value, housing stock in units, and economic impacts

Correction date: September 13, 2023

Correction notice

On September 13, 2023, the data for investment, depreciation, end-of-year net stock, average age and remaining useful service life ratio have been corrected for reference years 1961 to 2022. The data for the economic and environmental impact have been corrected for reference years 2009 to 2022.

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Additional information

Note to readers

The Housing Economic Account (HEA) is a set of statistical statements that record the macroeconomic impacts related to the production of housing in Canada. The account is organized using a statistical framework that is consistent with the Canadian System of National Accounts. Estimates of investment, net stock, depreciation, average age and remaining useful service life are available by province and territory. Estimates of the economic contribution of investment resulting from the production of housing assets are also available and are measured in terms of the associated value added, compensation of employees and number of jobs. Data are available at an annual frequency from reference period 1961 to 2022 by institutional sector, dwelling type and housing type.

The proportion of houses by social and private housing type is based on the housing structure provided by the Statistical Building Register database (2022) and the National Social and Affordable Housing Database (2022). This proportion is thus a snapshot of the distribution of residential housing in 2022 depending on whether the housing is private or social.

Estimates of housing stock in units have been developed within the HEA. This stock in units is a dwelling concept and is based on the Census of Population dwelling counts. The concepts used in estimates pertaining to housing stock in units by dwelling type, tenure and occupancy are based on the Census of Population. Definitions of these and many other concepts can be found in the Census Dictionary, where dwelling refers to a separate set of living quarters with a private entrance either from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule, or stairway inside the building. The entrance to the dwelling must be one that can be used without passing through the living quarters of some other person or group of persons. The concept of dwelling is different from the concept of residential property, as one property can contain multiple dwellings. Information on residential properties can be found within the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP). The HEA uses the CHSP as an input. Specifically, the CHSP is merged to the Statistical Building Register data to obtain the distribution of the sector based on the North American Classification Standard code. Data from six provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia) and the three territories are used to derive the average distribution of the sector, across non-social housing and social housing. Stock in units' estimates will be available upon request.

The remaining useful service life ratio provides information on the relationship between the timing and average age of investments in housing assets and their associated expected service lives, providing additional information on Canada's stock of housing assets.

The economic contribution as a result of the production of housing assets due to investment is presented for valued added (gross domestic product), compensation of employees, hours worked and number of jobs. The contribution is calculated for both the direct effect and the indirect effect. The direct effect is simply the impact on the producing industry itself, without assuming that any consequences will follow from the new additional spending. The indirect effects of the initial spending begin when businesses receiving the initial order purchase additional materials and supplies from other businesses who, having received their own new orders, similarly expand their productive activities. The indirect effect is a consequence of actions that businesses take to adapt to the additional demand beyond those taken as part of the direct effect.

The economic contribution variables are estimated using the latest available multipliers from the supply-use table. Because structural parameters used to calculate multipliers change relatively slowly, supply-use multipliers are commonly used beyond the reference year to measure impacts on target variables for future periods.


Investment means spending by businesses or governments during a given year for the purposes of construction of structures, purchases of equipment and improvements to existing facilities, all for future use in production during more than one year. In essence, investment is spending for the purposes of production in the future rather than for production today.

An industry is a group of businesses that are engaged in similar production activities, such as the manufacturing industry or the transportation services industry. There are many businesses in Canada and they are classified into industry groups by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Private housing is defined as housing that is built or/and owned by the private sector for personal use or for-profit purpose. In that case, neither the federal, provincial, territorial or local government subsidizes the rent. A “subsidy” may be in the form of a lower than market value rent payment or payment of a portion of the rent.

Social housing is a term used by governments and non-for-profit organizations to describe housing that is subsidized by a level of government. According to the European Commission, social housing provision encompasses ‘development, renting/selling and maintenance of dwellings at affordable prices as well as their allocation and management, which may also include the management of housing estates and neighbourhoods’.

New construction is defined as site preparation for, and construction of, entirely new structures and/or significant extensions to existing structures whether or not the site was previously occupied.

Renovations includes additions, alterations and new installations to existing housing that enhances the efficiency or capacity or prolong the expected working lives of that housing asset.

Ownership transfer costs includes items such as real estate brokerage, legal services and architectural services.

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