The Future of Housing Occupancy: Saskatoon CMA

Demographic Growth & Change

Over the past 17 years, the Saskatoon CMA grew by 63,955 residents (28 percent), with its population going from 228,613 people in 1996 to 292,568 by 2013. Growth was relatively slow until 2005, peaking at 0.8 percent in 1998, with the year 2000 registering a marginally negative growth rate. The annual rate of population growth rose as the provincial economy expanded between 2005 and 2009, increasing into the two to three percent range between 2007 and 2011, and further, to a high of 4.2 percent in 2012. It is interesting to note that the 3.9 percent growth rate seen in 2013 was the second highest among Canada’s major CMAs in that year, behind only that of the Calgary CMA.

Looking forward, the Saskatoon CMA’s population is projected to grow at a slower rate than has been experienced recently—but still well above the experience of the late-1990s and early-2000s. Over the coming 28 years the Saskatoon CMA is projected to welcome 169,188 net new residents, growing from its current base of 292,568 people to 461,756 by 2041. Although annual population growth will slow towards 1.6 percent through the mid-2020s, and further to 1.1 percent by 2041, annual average growth rates for this region would be amongst the fastest for Canada’s major CMAs. This pattern of slowing growth reflects a moderation of currently-high migration levels, as well as the aging of the existing population both into the higher mortality stages of the lifecycle and out of the  prime childbearing ages.

With respect to changes in the composition of the region’s population, the greatest relative growth is projected to be in the older age groups. Each of the 45-plus age groups is projected to grow at a faster rate than the population as a whole, while each under-45 group would grow more slowly. Those aged 45 and older are projected to account for 63 percent of the Saskatoon CMA’s growth to 2041. 

Unlike other CMAs where the older age groups are also projected to see the greatest absolute increases, future expected migration levels will see the 45 to 54 age group add the greatest absolute number of residents over the projection period (30,245) followed by the 27,349 net new additions to the 55 to 64 population. The third-greatest growth (in absolute terms) would be in the under-15 population (generally-speaking, the kids of the 45 to 54 year olds), with 22,004 net additions. In looking ahead, long and increasing life expectancies would see upwards of 87 percent of today’s residents still alive by 2033, and 78 percent by 2041.

Housing Occupancy Demand by Structure Type

Census and National Household Survey data are used to show the lifecycle pattern of housing occupancy for ground oriented and apartment dwellings in the Saskatoon CMA. In Saskatoon, ground oriented maintainer rates rise rapidly through the mid-30s age groups, after which point rates do continue to grow, albeit more slowly, peaking at 51 percent for those aged 55 to 59. Successive declines in ground oriented maintainer rates characterize each of the 60-plus age groups, with rates reaching a low of 18 percent for those aged 85-plus.

While only two percent of Saskatoon’s residents between the ages of 15 and 19 maintain a household in an apartment, rates increase to 16 percent among those aged 25 to 29. Apartment maintainer rates then slow to between eight and nine percent for the mid-30s to late-50s segments of the population, before rising markedly for the 60-plus age groups. Apartment maintainer rates peak at 38 percent for those aged 80 and older, surpassing both apartment rates in the younger age groups and ground oriented rates in those same older age groups. 

Combining trends in the lifecycle pattern of maintaining a household with the pattern of demographic change expected for the Saskatoon CMA between 2013 and 2041 yields a projection of 79,992 net new additional dwelling units being added to the region over the next 28 years. Relatively high maintainer rates among the older age groups (especially those for apartments), combined with rapid growth in these older segments of the population, would result in total housing occupancy demand growing faster than the region’s population: 58 percent growth in Saskatoon’s population between 2013 and 2041 would generate a 68 percent increase in total housing occupancy demand over the same period. 

The unique lifecycle patterns of ground oriented and apartment occupancy demand will also impact the types of future housing being demanded. For example, future additional demand for ground oriented units would outnumber that for apartments, with 57,610 net new ground oriented units being required to house projected population growth and change versus 21,851 net new additional apartments. That said, the apartment segment of the market would see greater relative growth at 74 percent, with the demand for new ground oriented formats growing by 66 percent by 2041, due to robust growth rates projected for the older cohorts and high apartment maintainer rates. 

Housing Occupancy Demand by Tenure Type

As with the structure type pattern of housing occupancy, the lifecycle pattern of household maintainer rates described by tenure also corresponds to major life milestones. For instance, in the Saskatoon CMA, maintainer rates for owned accommodation increase significantly through the family formation and rearing stages of the lifecycle, going from a low of only one percent of people in the 15 to 19 age group to a peak of 49 percent in the 75 to 79 segment. From this point, owned maintainer rates decline through the latter stages of the lifecycle as some people decide to move out of their owned home to either move in with their children, transition out of private accommodation altogether in favour of collective care such as nursing homes or hospitals, or even sell their home to move into the rental stock.

Rental maintainer rates in the Saskatoon CMA predominate in the younger and older age groups, increasing from three percent in the 15 to 19 group to 21 percent in the 25 to 29 segment, before dipping to a low of eleven percent beginning in the 55 to 59 age group. Rental maintainer rates begin to increase again in the 75 to 79 group, a trend driven, in part, by the associated declines in owned maintainer rates through these oldest age groups. 

Given the predominance of owned maintainer rates in the Saskatoon CMA, additional  demand for owned units over the next 28 years would outpace that for rented dwellings. Specifically, the owned segment of the market is projected to grow by 80 percent  between 2013 and 2041, going from 81,493 occupied units to 146,663 over the projection period. Occupancy demand for rented units is expected to increase at half that pace (by 40 percent), growing from 35,711 occupied units in 2013 to 50,002 by 2041. Over the projection period an additional 65,170 owned units would be required to house the region’s future residents versus 14,291 net new rental units.



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