CMHC Releases Comprehensive Report on Housing in Canada

    OTTAWA, Oct. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Building greener homes in higher-density
neighbourhoods near public transit, rather than in sprawling suburbs, is key
to reducing the housing sector's impact on the environment and lowering
greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2007 Canadian Housing Observer
released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
    "The focus on sustainable housing in this year's Canadian Housing
Observer is particularly timely given growing public interest in the
environment," said Karen Kinsley, President of CMHC. "The Observer is a
reliable source of current and comprehensive analysis of housing trends and
conditions in Canada."
    The 2007 Canadian Housing Observer analyzes the relationship between
environment-friendly housing construction, neighbourhood design and
transportation. It found that downtown living, which provides easy access to
workplaces, schools, and shops, as well as housing located close to public
transit, lead to reduced automobile use. Also, better design of the suburbs
results in less short-distance driving and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
    The 2007 Canadian Housing Observer also examines recent trends in
affordable housing, housing finance and market developments. A key conclusion
about the living conditions of Canadians, which is based on new CMHC
information, found that the level of Canadians living in core housing need(1)
has declined slightly from 13.9 per cent in 2002 to 13.6 per cent in 2004.

    Other key findings of this year's Canadian Housing Observer include:

    - Housing-related spending grew by 6.1 per cent in 2006, contributing
      more than $275 billion to the Canadian economy;
    - Total mortgage credit outstanding in 2006 reached an annual average of
      $694 billion, up 10.7 per cent from 2005. This is mainly due to
      increased property values, which in turn increased the average mortgage
      amount approved;
    - Environment-friendly, energy-efficient housing is expected to become
      more the Canadian norm in the future thanks to initiatives such as
      CMHC's EQuilibrium sustainable housing initiative.
    - All of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in recent years were in
      Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, with the exceptions of Moncton,
      New Brunswick and Sherbrooke, Québec.

    "At TD Economics we rely on CMHC's Canadian Housing Observer for analysis
and data to help us formulate answers. The 2007 edition is special because for
the first time it gives data on housing conditions for between census years,"
said Don Drummond, Chief Economist, TD Bank Financial Group.
    This year's print edition of the Canadian Housing Observer is complemented
by a detailed array of online housing market and housing conditions data
resources at This includes CMHC's Housing in Canada Online
(HiCO), a powerful and free interactive tool that provides access to data on
national, regional, local and off-reserve housing conditions, including core
housing need.
    The attached backgrounder provides an overview of key findings from the
2007 Canadian Housing Observer.

    As Canada's national housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC) draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians
access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable homes
- homes that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and
cities across the country.

    (1) Core Housing Need: Households which occupy housing that falls below
        dwelling adequacy, suitability or affordability standards, and which
        spends 30 percent or more of their before-tax income for the median
        rent of alternative local market housing that meets all three

         Backgrounder - 2007 Canadian Housing Observer - Key Findings

    New Housing for a Changing World (Chapter 2)

    - Houses are a major consumer of energy, land, water and raw materials.
      The residential sector is responsible for 60 per cent of water
      consumption and 17 per cent of energy used.
    - CMHC's EQuilibrium sustainable housing initiative promotes market
      acceptance and builds industry know-how for healthy, affordable,
      sustainable and energy-efficient housing.
    - Savings in residential energy and water consumption can be achieved in
      a number of ways, including photovoltaic panels, solar heating, ground-
      source heat pumps, low-flow fixtures and appliances, and greywater
      (from dishwasher/shower) recycling and reuse.
    - Developers in the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and
      the United States are already building and selling homes targeting
      annual net-zero energy consumption.
    - It is expected that sustainable housing design and construction, now a
      market niche, will become more the norm.

    Demographic and Socio-Economic Influences on Housing Demand (Chapter 3)

    - Canada's population grew at a slightly faster pace in recent years than
      in the late 1990s mainly due to increased immigration. Senior,
      immigrant and Aboriginal groups are growing more rapidly than the
      general population.
    - From 2001 to 2006, the vast majority (86 per cent) of population growth
      took place in metropolitan areas.
    - The number of households in Canada owning second homes, vacation homes,
      or cottages reached 1.1 million in 2005, about 200,000 more than in
    - From 1990 to 2004, high-income earners enjoyed much stronger income
      growth than those with low incomes.
    - From 1999 to 2005, the average net worth of households in Canada, after
      adjusting for inflation, grew at an annual rate of more than four per
      cent. Increased equity in real estate played a major role in this

    Market Developments (Chapter 4)

    - The strong housing market in 2006 was led by high demand in the western
    - In 2006, the proportion of gross domestic product spent on housing
      increased to 19.1 per cent compared to 18.9 per cent the previous year.
    - Total housing starts in 2006, at 227,400 units, were at the second
      highest level since 1987.
    - The average MLS(R) home price - driven by the strong seller's markets
      in western provinces - increased by 11.1 per cent to $277,000 in 2006,
      the largest price increase since 1989.
    - The average estimated rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing
      structures rose in 27 out of 28 major centres between October 2005 and
      October 2006, resulting in an average increase of 3.2 per cent.
    - Total spending on housing renovations, repair and maintenance reached
      $43.9 billion in 2006, an increase of nine per cent compared to 2005.

    Housing Finance (Chapter 5)

    - From a record low of 5.99 per cent in 2005, mortgage rates rose to an
      average posted rate of 6.66 per cent for a five-year term mortgage in
      2006. They were still low by historical standards.
    - CMHC's 2006 Mortgage Consumer Survey found that the majority of
      mortgage consumers (84 per cent) were satisfied with the services they
      received when negotiating their current mortgage.
    - About 70 per cent of mortgage consumers prefer to use one of the major
      lending institutions to obtain a mortgage.
    - Issuance of National Housing Act Mortgage Backed Securities and Canada
      Mortgage Bonds rose 19 per cent in 2006 to $36 billion.

    Transportation and sustainable, healthy communities (Chapter 6)

    - The location of a home and the neighbourhood design help determine how
      much driving a household does.
    - Automobile use could be reduced by concentrating development along
      public transportation corridors and closer to the urban centre, rather
      than at the urban fringe.
    - Municipalities and developers are increasingly turning to Transit-
      Oriented Development.
    - Infill developments that increase housing density have been found to be
      more effective at lowering transportation-related greenhouse gas
      emissions than greenfield (suburban) developments specifically designed
      to reduce car dependency.

    Recent trends in housing affordability and core housing need (2002-2004)
    (Chapter 7)

    - Urban households in British Columbia and Ontario continued to
      experience a high level of core housing need between 2002 and 2004.
    - One-person households accounted for almost half (46.7 per cent) of
      Canadian urban households in core housing need, up from 43.7 per cent
      in 2002.
    - The incidence of core housing need among senior-led urban households
      declined from 15.4 per cent in 2002 to 13.9 per cent in 2004.
    - The percentage of immigrant urban tenant households in core housing
      need increased to 36.3 per cent in 2004 from 34.4 per cent in 2002.
    - The 20 per cent of households having the lowest incomes accounted for
      about 81 percent of all urban households in core housing need in 2004,
      up from about 78 percent in 2002.

For further information:

For further information: Kristen Scheel, CMHC Media Relations, (613)
748-4632; For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642

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