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Mega Trends

Canadian Megatrends, October 2015

Evolution of housing in Canada from 1957 to 2014

Ottawa - They could be called suburbs in the skies. This month's issue of Canadian Megatrends examines the changing face of the housing market in Canada, one that has seen cities move from spreading out to sprouting up.

A growing number of urban Canadians are calling apartments and apartment-condominiums home. It's a reflection of a number of factors including an aging population, smaller household size, growing immigration and the increasing price of single-family dwellings in major urban areas.

The article tracks housing in the country from 1957 to 2014, starting with the steep increase in new homes in the late 1950s as post-war families grew, through the boom in apartments and multi-family units in the 1960s and early 1970s. By the early 1980s, the single-family home slowly returned to prominence, helped along by lower mortgage rates.

It was the start of the new millennium when the boom truly began for apartment-condominiums, moving from 62% of all condominiums in 2000 to almost 90% by 2014. Nowhere was this trend more evident than in the country's three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs).

In 2014, for example, apartments (including apartment-condominiums) accounted for more than half the residential construction in Toronto, compared with about a quarter for single-family homes. The story was even more pronounced in Montréal, where three-quarters of residential construction were apartments, compared with 16% for single-family homes. Vancouver had similar proportions, apartments accounting for 67% of residential construction, and single-family homes 16%.

At the same time, in all three CMAs, construction for new single-family dwellings has fallen by almost half since 2000.

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