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Housing blog identifies inaccuracies in counting new GTHA homes

Housing blog identifies inaccuracies in counting new GTHA homes

TORONTO—A new blog posted on the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR) website outlines discrepancies between housing data compiled for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Census of Canada over the past five years.

The blog by Frank Clayton compares two housing supply data sets during the past five-year census period up to May 2021. The new supply of housing represented by CMHC’s completions and net conversions in Toronto exceeded the change in total dwellings counted in the Census of Canada between mid-2016 and mid-2021 by almost 16,999 dwelling units, or 11 per cent, suggests a May 24 CUR release.

Similarly, in Guelph and Peterborough, the CMHC supply exceeded increases in total dwellings counted in the census by 27 and eight percentage points, respectively. However, in Brantford and Hamilton, CMHC’s data on housing supply fell short of the growth in total private dwellings counted by the census by 15 and 10 percentage points, respectively.

The blog also noted that neither data set fully portrays changes in the housing stock. Completions do not include net additions to the housing stock from sources other than new construction (net conversions). Changes in occupied dwellings can reflect changes in vacant units as well as additions to the total housing stock.

Understanding the data on actual additions to housing supply is essential to ensure that there is an adequate supply of new housing, said CUR. It is also necessary to have reliable data about land at various stages of the approval process due to the extended period necessary to provide additional housing supply.

“It is thus important to ensure the collection of better and more accurate data on changes within the housing stock, and that municipalities collect and provide data on the supply of approved and serviced land by housing type as well as land in the approvals pipeline,” stated the CUR.

“Hopefully, the provisions of Ontario’s More Homes for Everyone Act 2022 will provide funding for this data collection and research.”

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