Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its annual Seniors Housing Report – British Columbia recently.
According to the survey, the average vacancy rate for independent living suites was 11.5 per cent in February 2011, up from 10.4 per cent one year earlier. This survey looked at 14,392 independent living suites, in addition to another 12,278 seniors’ housing units consisting of heavy care units, respite beds, and subsidized units.
“Seniors-housing operators are anticipating an increase in demand for seniors’ housing as the housing needs of people in the baby-boomer cohort shift to supportive living,” says Sarena Teakles, CMHC market analyst.
“New seniors’ complexes are being built throughout the province, she adds, but at the current time, there is a higher than anticipated number of vacant units resulting in a higher overall vacancy rate.
Average rent levels for independent living suites varied by region. Rents were highest in the Lower Mainland region with an average of $2,754 per month, with similar rents in the Vancouver Island/Central Coast region at $2,751 per month.
The higher cost of land and differences in the cost of services and amenities contribute to regional variation in rent levels, says Teakles.
“The past few years have seen the introduction of a number of new independent living suites to the seniors’ housing market across the province. The report shows that there is a trend for more seniors to choose to live in seniors’ housing complexes with different types and levels of services.”