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Key Report: 2009 Canadian Housing Observer Released by CMHC

OTTAWA, Ontario, November 16, 2009 — 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.

Media inquiries:

Charles Sauriol
Senior Media Relations Officer
Tel.: 613-748-2799
Cell: 613-816-5978

News source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)


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