CMHC says Canada short 3.5 million housing units for 2030

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CaDCR staff writer

Canada needs another 3.5 million housing units by 2030 on top of what it’s on track to build by that point, a new report says.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has released an update to its Supply Gaps Estimate (SGE) report from June 2022, which estimated how much additional housing supply is required to restore affordability to 2004 levels by 2030.

“This latest report reinforces the need for urgent action to increase housing supply to make housing affordable for everyone in Canada and continues our work on improving the understanding of what drives housing demand and supply,” said Aled ab Iorwerth, deputy chief economist for CMHC.

The new estimate shows the overall national supply gap remains at approximately 3.5 million more housing units by 2030, over and above what is already projected to be built by that time. Changing economic and demographic projections have caused supply gaps to change across provinces.

Among the highlights, the projected housing gap is now lower in Ontario but higher in other provinces like Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia, as illustrated here:

CMHC says greater detail will be provided on the impact of population mobility across regions and provinces, the number of rental units needed to reach affordability, and how the lack of housing supply impacts different income quintiles. Results from this work is expected to be available early next year.

View the related podcast with report author and CMHC Deputy Chief Economist, Aled ab Iorwerth on CMHC’s YouTube channel.

Iorwerth says the debate has shifted and is now “not so much whether we increase supply, but how do we do it quickly.”

Asked if he believed building another 3.5 million housing units by 2030 is possible, Iorwerth responded, “No, but it’s the right question to ask.”

“Housing affordability is a clear problem for all Canadians, but it’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of policy innovation, a lot of innovation by the business sector to fix it,” he said.

“The problem is not going away. Responding to it, it’s going to take time, but I think this is clearly now a priority for all Canadians.”

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