Key Report: 2009 Canadian Housing Observer Released by CMHC

OTTAWA, Nov. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Innovative approaches developed by the private sector, not-for-profit sector and all levels of government are increasingly driving the production of affordable housing, particularly for low-income households, reports the 2009 Canadian Housing Observer, released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"The 2009 Canadian Housing Observer is unique in providing a comprehensive annual examination of the key factors influencing the development of housing, a vital sector for Canada," said Karen Kinsley, President of CMHC.

The 2009 Observer, CMHC's flagship publication, details the private sector's innovations in producing affordable housing, including providing direct support to tenants or homeowners through interest-free loans and measures to reduce housing costs through creative approaches to design, construction and renovation.

For their part, not-for-profit organizations are finding ways to provide affordable housing without on-going government support. For example, the Habitat for Humanity model is based on the concept of "partnership housing" where the potential homeowners contribute sweat equity and work alongside community volunteers and businesses to build homes.

Some municipal governments are also adopting new housing policies, including housing trust funds, donating land for affordable housing and reducing or waiving municipal fees.

Underpinning these efforts is support from federal and provincial/territorial governments, through flexible agreements that allow for innovative ideas, as well as financial and in-kind contributions.

    Other key findings in this year's Observer include:

    -   Nationally, the incidence of core housing need decreased from
        13.7 per cent in 2001 to 12.7 per cent in 2006, with most regions in
        the country following the national trend;
    -   The effects of the aging of Canada's population over the next three
        decades and the important implications this will have on
        homebuilders, mortgage lenders and policy makers;
    -   The effect of immigration on population and household growth will
        become increasingly important;
    -   Housing starts were above the 200,000 unit level for the seventh
        consecutive year and housing-related spending contributed just over
        $300 billion to the Canadian economy in 2008;
    -   A water-sensitive approach to urban design is an important part of
        efforts to encourage the development of healthy, energy-efficient
        sustainable homes and communities.

In addition to the Observer, CMHC offers detailed online statistical housing information and analysis. This includes CMHC's Housing in Canada Online interactive tool.

As Canada's national housing agency, 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 across the country. For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

        Backgrounder - 2009 CMHC Canadian Housing Observer Highlights

    Affordable Housing, Chapter 2

    -   The private sector has developed a wide range of tools to produce
        affordable housing, ranging from direct support to tenants or
        homeowner through subsidies, interest-free loans and second mortgages
        to measures aimed at reducing the overall cost of housing. Many non-
        profit organizations are also finding ways to provide affordable
        housing without on-going government support.
    -   Under the Affordable Housing Initiative, the federal government,
        through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, provides
        contributions to increase the supply of affordable housing. As of
        December 31, 2008, more than 41,000 units had been completed under
        this initiative.

    Demographic and Socio-economic Influences on Housing Demand, Chapter 3

    -   The aging of Canada's population over the next three decades will
        have important implications for home builders, mortgage lenders,
        government policy makers and other housing market participants.
    -   Immigration has been a key factor influencing population growth in
        Canada and will become increasingly important in the coming decades.

    Current Market Developments, Chapter 4

    -   Gains in new construction were recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador
        (23.1 %), Saskatchewan (13.7%), Ontario (10.2 %) and New Brunswick
        (0.8 %). Decreases were recorded in Alberta (-39.7 %), Nova Scotia
        (-16.2 %), British Columbia (-12.4 %), Prince Edward Island (-5.1 %),
        Manitoba (-3.5 %), and Quebec (-1.3 %).
    -   The sustained performance of the housing market, employment and
        income growth, and very low interest rates have contributed to the
        strength in renovation spending in recent years.

    Housing Finance, Chapter 5

    -   Canada's housing finance system has exhibited remarkable resiliency
        during the global financial crisis.
    -   This is due in part to prudent lending and mortgage insurance
        practices, new policies implemented, and the fact that mortgages in
        excess of 80 % require mortgage insurance by legislation.

    Sustainable, Healthy Communities and Water, Chapter 6

    -   Water-Sensitive Urban Design is a form of urban design that
        integrates urban planning with the protection and conservation of the
        water cycle.
    -   A number of provinces (e.g. British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario
        and Saskatchewan) have already included, or are in the process of
        including water efficiency in both their provincial water strategies
        and building code regulations.

    Recent Trends in Affordability and Core Housing Need, Chapter 7

    -   Following the national trend, most regions in the country experienced
        improvements in core housing need between 2001 and 2006.
    -   Most Census Metropolitan Areas (28 out of 33) experienced a decrease
        in their respective incidences of core housing need between 2001 and

    Housing Research, Chapter 8

    -   Housing research can contribute significantly to ensuring our stock
        of housing can meet the needs of current and future generations.
    -   For governments at all levels, housing research contributes to sound
        decision-making, can guide program and policy development, as well as
        help to increase the accountability and efficiency of spending.

SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

For further information: For further information: Media inquiries: Charles Sauriol, Senior Media Relations Officer, CMHC, (613) 748-2799, Cell. (613) 816-5978

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890