CMHC retirement home market survey: Markets ease in 2006



    MONTREAL, April 26 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the results of the Quebec
retirement home market survey conducted in October 2006 by Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation (CMHC), almost all markets across Quebec eased in 2006.
"Retirement home providers more than met the demand. With the exception of
Trois-Rivières, all major urban centres registered increases in their overall
vacancy rates. Given the current vacancy rates and the pace of construction,
we believe that the situation should continue to be monitored, as demographic
forecasts are pointing to a temporary decrease in demand," said Kevin Hughes,
Senior Economist at CMHC (see tables 1 and 2).
    "While the vacancy rates went up in both market segments (rooms and
apartments), it cannot be said that the increase was generally more pronounced
in either segment. Once again this year, the survey results revealed that the
vacancy rates are generally lower in the apartment segment, particularly in
large retirement homes offering a range of services. It should also be noted
that market conditions varied depending on the regions, even if the general
trend was on the rise. As we mentioned last year, it is more important than
ever for investors in this sector to know the local markets well and to target
the products accurately," continued Mr. Hughes.

    Montréal

    In the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA), 4.7 per cent of
apartments for seniors were vacant in 2006, for an increase of 0.7 of a
percentage point over the level recorded in 2005. This was the third
consecutive increase in the vacancy rate since the low point of 1.1 per cent
reached in 2003. The construction of apartment retirement homes continued at a
good pace. Between 2005 and 2006, the survey universe increased by 1,800
units, for a total of 24,161 apartments divided among 184 buildings. Even
though supply decreased in room-and-board retirement homes (from 8,935 beds in
2005 to 8,620 beds in 2006), the vacancy rate rose from 4.5 per cent in 2005
to 7.2 per cent in 2006.

    Québec

    In the Québec area, the private retirement home vacancy rate rose
slightly, reaching 4.5 per cent, compared to 4.2 per cent in 2005. The
proportion of vacant units attained its highest level since 1999. In absolute
terms, 417 units were unoccupied in the fall of 2006, out of a total stock of
9,367 units, divided among 134 retirement homes. This increase in the overall
vacancy rate was attributable to both apartment and room-and-board retirement
homes. For the former, the vacancy rate rose from 3.1 per cent in 2005 to
3.3 per cent in 2006 while, for the latter, this rate climbed from 6.2 per
cent to 6.6 per cent.

    Gatineau

    According to the survey results, the market eased slightly in the
Gatineau area. In fall of 2006, the vacancy rate for retirement homes reached
1.9 per cent, compared to 0.9 per cent one year earlier. Despite this
increase, the vacancy rate still remained low. For a third straight year,
apartment retirement homes posted the lowest vacancy rate, with 0.4 per cent
of units unoccupied. In room-and-board residences, the rise in the vacancy
rate was more marked, as 3.3 per cent of units were unoccupied in 2006, in
comparison with 1.5 per cent in 2005.

    Sherbrooke

    The vacancy rate increased for a fourth straight year in the Sherbrooke
CMA, where the overall vacancy rate reached 4.8 per cent, compared to
3.1 per cent, one year earlier. While the proportions of vacant units were the
same for both apartments and room-and-board units, the apartment segment
registered a more significant gain. In 2005, the vacancy rates stood at
2.6 per cent for apartments and at 3.7 per cent for room-and-board units.

    Saguenay

    In the Saguenay area, the overall vacancy rate registered a notable
increase in 2006, rising from 1.5 per cent in 2005 to 3.1 per cent in 2006,
following the addition to the survey universe of just over 80 new units that
arrived on the market in 2006. At the time of the October 2006 survey,
apartment retirement homes had the lowest vacancy rate, at 2.4 per cent. In
room-and-board residences, 3.7 per cent of the units were unoccupied.

    Trois-Rivières

    The retirement home market tightened again in 2006 in the Trois-Rivières
CMA. The overall vacancy rate for private retirement homes fell from
3.7 per cent in 2005 to 2.9 per cent in 2006. In absolute terms, 74 units were
available in the Trois-Rivières area this past fall. In all, the stock was
composed of 2,533 units (1,359 apartments and 1,174 room-and-board units). The
decrease in the overall vacancy rate was largely attributable to the
tightening of the apartment retirement home market segment, for which the
vacancy rate dropped to 0.8 per cent in 2006, compared to 1.9 per cent one
year earlier.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians
access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant,
healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. For more
information, visit www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.
    (Table on following page)

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Table 1.
    Vacancy rates in seniors residences :
    (census metropolitan areas, province of Quebec)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              Rooming residences:      Apartement residences:
                         -----------------------    ------------------------

                                           (diff.                      (diff.
    CMA                   2005    2006   2005-06)     2005    2006   2005-06)
                        ------  ------  --------    ------  ------  --------

    Gatineau               1.5     3.3       1.8       0.0     0.4       0.4
    Montréal               4.5     7.2       2.7       4.0     4.7       0.7
    Saguenay               2.6     3.7       1.1       0.3     2.4       2.1
    Sherbrooke             3.7     4.8       1.1       2.6     4.8       2.2
    Québec                 6.2     6.6       0.4       3.1     3.3       0.2
    Trois-Rivières         5.6     5.4      -0.2       1.9     0.8      -1.1

                                                                       Total
                                                    ------------------------
                                                                       (diff.
    RMR                                               2005    2006   2005-06)
                                                    ------  ------  --------
    Gatineau                                           0.9     1.9       1.0
    Montréal                                           4.1     5.3       1.2
    Saguenay                                           1.5     3.1       1.6
    Sherbrooke                                         3.1     4.8       1.7
    Québec                                             4.2     4.5       0.3
    Trois-Rivières                                     3.7     2.9      -0.8

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    source : CMHC Quebec senior residences survey. October 2005, 2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Table 2.
    Universe in seniors residences :
    (census metropolitan areas, province of Quebec)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         CMA  Rooming residences:      Apartement residences:
                                 (number of beds)     (number of apartements)
                         -----------------------    ------------------------

                                           (% of                       (% of
                                           total                       total
    CMA                   2005    2006       CMA)     2005    2006       CMA)
                        ------  ------  --------    ------  ------  --------

    Gatineau               729     842      0.51       506     822      0.49
    Montréal             8,935   8,620      0.26    22,334  24,161      0.74
    Saguenay               900     917      0.52       794     858      0.48
    Sherbrooke           1,232   1,197      0.46     1,199   1,393      0.54
    Québec               3,109   3,207      0.34     6,044   6,160      0.66
    Trois-Rivières       1,219   1,174      0.46     1,230   1,359      0.54
    Total               16,124  15,957      0.31    32,107  34,753      0.69

                                                                       Total
                                                   -------------------------

    CMA                                                                (% of
                                                                       grand
                                                      2005    2006     total)
                                                    ------  ------  ---------
    Gatineau                                         1,235   1,664    842.49
    Montréal                                        31,269  32,781   8620.74
    Saguenay                                         1,694   1,775    917.48
    Sherbrooke                                       2,431   2,590   1197.54
    Québec                                           9,153   9,367   3207.66
    Trois-Rivières                                   2,449   2,533   1174.54
    Total                                           48,231  50,710  15957.69

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    note: it is possible that an apartment be occupied by more than one
    resident
    source: CMHC Quebec senior residences survey. October 2005, 2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    




For further information:

For further information: Province of Quebec and Montréal: Julie Cohen,
Communications, (514) 283-3679; Québec: Jean-François Dion, Senior Market
Analyst, (418) 649-8101; Gatineau: Patricia Dépot, Market Analyst, (514)
283-7312; Sherbrooke: Hélène Dauphinais, Market Analyst, (819) 564-5622;
Trois-Rivières: Marie-Elaine Denis, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8100; Saguenay:
Frédéric Brie, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8102


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