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The demand continues – will supply ever catch up?

In April, the Canadian federal government announced its budget for 2022 with a much-needed focus on building homes over the next decade. Initiatives in the proposal included the launch of a new Housing Accelerator Fund of $4 billion to aid in speeding up housing development, which highlights the obvious demand for homes in this country.

Canada led the G7 in percentage population growth over the last five years (the 5.2% population growth is double that of the United States’ 2.6%). Canada added 1.8 million citizens between 2016-2021 and the federal government has plans to welcome 1.3 million immigrants over the next three years. This population growth is being achieved against the backdrop of a chronic housing supply shortage.  It was reported this year by Consumer Choice Centre that among the G7, Canada has the lowest average housing supply per capita with only 424 units per 1,000 people nationally, a ratio that is lower than it was five years ago. Of all the provinces, Ontario leads this disparity with only 398 units per 1,000 people – requiring 650,000 units to be built just to meet the national average.

With the recent increase in interest rates and construction cost inflation, some developers are taking a pause on launching new products, which will only exacerbate the supply imbalance and contribute to upward pressure on prices in the coming years. Whether for rent or for sale, Canada needs to build more houses, and quickly.

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