Canadian housing supply can’t keep up with population growth: expert

By John Ackermann, Aastha Pandey-Kanaan

The Canadian housing crisis is often framed as a case of supply not meeting the demand, but a financial expert says it’s not that simple.

Douglas Porter, chief economist and managing director at BMO Financial Group tells CityNews it’s impossible to keep up with the demand caused by the recent population growth.

“We’re seeing the adult population rise by more than one million people,” he says.

“Conservatively speaking, one million people require about 500,000 new units or new homes. That is just not doable, I don’t care what we do on the supply side. That just cannot be managed.”

Porter adds the Canadian housing market is trying to build as many homes as possible.

“Just to give you an idea, in the last couple of years, the number of home completions have been 220,000 per year historically. That’s relatively strong,” he said.

The economist says supply is not the issue, it’s the amount of supply needed that’s troubling.

“What has really shifted in the last few years, it is not supply, supply is actually been rising and rising somewhat steadily, but there’s only so much supply that the industry can reasonably crank out in a year,” Porter said.

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