OTTAWA, ON — Canadian homes are getting smaller and more are being lived in by only one person, according to the 2013 Canadian Housing Observer, an annual state-of-housing review just released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The 11th annual edition of the report provides detailed analysis of housing developments and trends, while offering projections of what the Canadian housing market will look like in the decades to come. It pays particularly close attention to the growth of condominium residences.

A sampling of data contained in the report includes:

  • The average household in Canada shrunk from 3.5 persons in 1971 to 2.5 in 2011. Closely tied to this decline, people living alone accounted for 28% of households in 2011, more than double single-resident households recorded in 1971.

  • From 1981 to 2011, the number of owner-occupied condos in Canada increased from about 171,000 to 1,154,000, more than nine times faster than other owner-occupied homes. The 461,000 rented condos brought the total number of occupied condo units to 1,615,000.

  • Single-detached houses remain the dominant housing type across Canada, home to 55% of households in 2011 and the majority of people in every age segment below the age of 85.

  •In 2011, one in eight single-detached starts were factory built.

  • From 1990 to 2012, the average annual rate of housing starts was 178,132 units. Starts in 2012 were 214,827 units, nearly 11% higher than in 2011.

  • Housing starts increased the most in percentage terms in 2012 in Saskatchewan (42%) and Alberta (30%), while recording small decreases in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

  • In 2012, sales of existing homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) decreased 1.2% to 454,463 units, but remained well above the 1990–2012 annual average of 382,825 units.

  • Between 3.6 million and 7 million new households are projected to be built in Canada by 2036.

  • Owner-occupied apartment dwellings, most of which are condominiums, are projected to show the fastest pace of growth of all dwelling categories to 2036, but single-detached houses are expected to remain the most common type of dwelling.

  • The rate of Canadian residential mortgages that were three months or more in arrears continued to trend downward; declining to 0.31% (below one-third of 1%) in June 2013, compared to the average of 0.41% in 2011.

    In addition to a feature article on condominiums, the Observer provides analysis of housing finance, housing markets, demographic and socio-economic influences on housing demand, recent trends in housing affordability and core housing need, and sustainable housing and communities – industrialized housing. View the 2013 Canadian Housing Observer.

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