Alberta has lowest housing per capita ratio in Canada

And Canada has the lowest ratio in the G7.

Earlier this month, Jean-François Perrault, senior vice-president and chief economist at Scotiabank, published a report on structural housing deficits in the provinces.

In the report, he claims that Canada has a structural housing shortage. In fact, according to Perrault, Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents among all the G7 states.

For reference, the G7 states are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Not only that, but according to a report he released last May, Canada’s population-adjusted housing stock has been dropping since 2016, driven primarily by our failure to keep up with population growth.

And we would’ve needed to build 100,000 new residences just to keep the housing per capita ratio stable. Even if we had built that many over the last 5 years, we still would’ve been well below the average of the G7 nations.

Finally, last May’s report said that Canada needs 1.8 million more dwellings right now if we want to have the same number of homes per 1,000 people as the other G7 countries.

According to this month’s report, Alberta has the worst housing per capita ratio of all the provinces, at just under 400 private dwellings per 1,000 people, with Ontario close behind.

For Alberta to reach the national average, we’d need to build 138,000 more housing units. And, remember, that’s just what we need to hit the average. Six provinces are above that average, so we’d still be in 7th place. And if wanted to reach the G7 average, which is about 100 units per 1,000 people more than Canada’s average, we’d need even more than that.

On top of that, the Bank of Canada also had a housing update for us this month.

According to their housing affordability index, as of the third quarter in 2021, Canadians would need, on average, to put 37.1% of their disposable income toward housing-related expenses.

In the previous quarter, it was 36.8%, and in the third quarter of 2020, it was 31.9%. The data for the index wasn’t broken down by province.

That means not only do we not have enough houses, but the ones we don’t have are getting more expensive.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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