As developers rush to construct new residences aimed at seniors to meet the demand of a greying population, the vacancy rate in Ottawa’s retirement residences is inching upwards, bucking a provincial trend, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported this week.
The vacancy rates in Ottawa’s retirement residences rose from 12.2 per cent in 2017 to 14.8 per cent this year, the CMHC said in a report. Across Ontario, the vacancy rate fell from 10.3 per cent last year to a record-low 9.9 per cent, despite the number of units growing by 3,400.
Penny Wu, a senior market analyst for CMHC, said in a statement that demand is continuing to outpace supply in Ontario when it comes to retirement residences. Wu credited this to “accelerating growth in the older population and the increasing acceptance of seniors’ housing.”
This demand is drawing some traditional Ottawa homebuilders to increase their stake in the market. Claridge Homes, for example, has plans to expand its portfolio of seniors residences with new projects in Orléans and near the airport, among other areas of the city.
Elsewhere, homebuilder Silver Maple Developments is currently developing a seniors’ living project in the Village of Richmond as part of Samara Square Residences.
Ottawa currently has the second-highest average rental rate in Ontario for standard spaces at $3,920 per month for a standard space, second only to Toronto.
Across the country, the ever-popular retirement destination British Columbia holds the country’s lowest vacancy rate at three per cent, with only a tenth of the increase in units Ontario saw.