The Future of Housing Occupancy: Winnipeg CMA

Demographic Growth & Change

Between 1996 and 2013, the Winnipeg CMA’s population grew by 15 percent, going from 670,831 residents to 771,243 through the addition of 100,412 new people. While population declines characterized the early part of this 17-year period, increasing growth rates have been seen in the CMA since the turn of the century. Climbing from under one percent in the early-2000s, annual growth rates were consistently above one percent after 2007 and reached 1.8 percent in 2011. More recently, rates have come down slightly, to 1.6 percent in 2013.  

In considering trends in aging, mortality, natality, and migration, the Winnipeg CMA is projected to grow from its current 771,243 residents to 847,224 by 2023, 896,417 by 2033, and further to 926,316 by 2041. As in many other parts of the country, annual population growth rates are expected to decline over time, the result of both migration levels moderating and a general demographic shift of the population out of the prime childbearing age groups and into the higher mortality ones. By the mid-2020s, annual population growth is projected to fall to 0.6 percent, declining further to 0.4 percent by 2041.

The age composition of the CMA’s population will change significantly in the coming years, with the greatest relative and absolute increases in the older age groups and declines characterizing some of the younger ones. Each 65-plus age group would grow faster than the CMA average and would account for 61 percent of total population growth to 2041. This would see the 65-plus age groups increase their share of the CMA’s population, from 14 percent in 2013 to 22 percent by 2041. 

Of particular interest is the slow growth (and in one case, decline) of the Winnipeg CMA’s younger age groups. Among Canada’s major CMAs, Winnipeg is the only region projected to see a decline in the population aged 15 to 24, and only marginal growth in the 25 to 34 age group. This trend will be driven by the aging of the existing population out of these age groups and the associated levels of, and composition of, migration that is projected for the CMA not being enough to compensate for this loss.

As with other regions, the aging of Winnipeg’s current population will largely frame tomorrow’s demographic context: 84 percent of all residents in 2013 are expected to be alive in 2033 (and potentially living somewhere within the region) and 74 percent of them would still be alive by 2041.

Housing Occupancy Demand by Structure Type

The Census and National Household Survey provide data on the age-specific patterns of housing, with the lifecycle pattern of housing occupancy for the Winnipeg CMA following the same general pattern seen in other metropolitan regions in Canada (A-21). Within the ground oriented segment of the market, household maintainer rates rise significantly through the emerging adulthood and family formation stages of life, increasing from only six percent of those aged 20 to 24 maintaining households in ground oriented units to 21 percent of those aged 25 to 29 and 34 percent of those aged 30 to 34. The increases in rates from one age group to another slow between the 30 to 34 and 55 to 59 year old segments, before declines in ground oriented rates are seen for the 60-plus population. It is through these latter stages of the lifecycle that apartment maintainer rates increase along with the relative attractiveness of collective  and institutional forms of accommodation. 

While apartments are important to the younger age groups (with 12 and 19 percent of the 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 groups maintaining households in apartments, respectively), they decline into the range of eleven percent through the family rearing stages of the lifecycle, before rising through the older age groups. In fact, apartment rates for the 70 and older age group actually surpass the peak in the younger age groups. Relative to other metropolitan regions, the Winnipeg CMA’s apartment maintainer rates are amongst the highest for the older segments of the population, coming in only slightly behind Montreal.

Combining trends in the lifecycle patterns of household maintainer rates by structure type with the pattern of demographic change in the Winnipeg CMA between 2013 and 2041 results in a demographically-based projection of household occupancy demand that would see 88,725 net new units being added over the next 28 years. High maintainer rates among the rapidly-growing older age groups will see total housing occupancy demand outpace population growth over the projection period, with 20 percent population growth generating a 29 percent increase in occupancy demand.

While additional demand will primarily be in ground oriented formats due to the strong lifecycle pattern  that ground oriented rates demonstrate (58,427 net new ground oriented units versus 30,297 new apartments), the greatest relative growth would be in the apartment segment of the market. More specifically, apartment occupancy demand is projected to grow by 34 percent versus 27 percent for ground oriented housing over the next 28 years. 

Housing Occupancy Demand by Tenure Type

There is a distinct tenure-related lifecycle pattern to household maintainer rates in the Winnipeg CMA. As with the pattern by structure type, this tenure pattern corresponds with major life milestones, from moving out of the familial home and entering school or the labour force, to family formation and the ownership side of the market, up-sizing as one ages through middle stages of a working career and raising a family, and finally downsizing through the oldest stages of the lifecycle.

As with other regions, owned maintainer rates increase significantly through family formation and rearing stages of the lifecycle in the Winnipeg CMA, going from only four percent of people between the ages of 20 and 24 owning their dwelling to 22 percent for the 25 to 29 group (a five fold increase), and further, to 31 percent for those aged 30 to 34.  Owned rates continue to increase up to the age of 55—to peak at 47 percent of those aged 55 to 64 maintaining an owner-occupied household. From this point onward owned maintainer rates decline, first slowly and then more dramatically—to 29 percent for the 85-plus age group—as people begin a protracted shift away from maintaining households in owned accommodation. While part of this decline for the 60-plus population is offset by increases in rental maintainer rates, another part of it is driven by people either moving in with their children or moving into collective types of accommodation such as seniors homes and care facilities.

With respect to the lifecycle pattern of rental maintainer rates, a significant increase is also seen in the post-secondary/labour force entry and early career/family-formation stages, with rental maintainer rates going from two percent of the 15 to 19 age group to 14 percent of the 20 to 24  group and further to 22 percent of those aged 25 to 29. From this point, however, rental maintainer rates decline to a low of 13 percent for the 55 to 64 segment of the population before increasing for the 65-plus age groups. As with apartment maintainer rates, the Winnipeg CMA exhibits some of the highest rental maintainer rates amongst Canadian CMAs, peaking at 27 percent for those aged 85-plus. 

Additional occupancy demand for owned units is projected to outpace that for rented dwellings, both in relative and absolute terms. The owned segment of the market would increase from 210,883 units in 2013 to 281,738 by 2041, the result of demand growing by 70,855 net new units (34 percent). Future demand for rented units is projected to rise by 18 percent over the same period, going from 97,433 in 2013 to 115,302 by 2041, as an additional 17,869 units would be required to fulfill Winnipeg’s rental occupancy demand over the coming 28 years.





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