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CHRA’s Economic Study, The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity: Future impacts and key takeaways

07 Mar 2024

CHRA staff


In November 2023, CHRA, Housing Partnership Canada, and our sector partners released our economic study, The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity. This study, authored by Deloitte, finds a causal connection between the proportion of community housing within the overall housing stock and gains in economic productivity.

In the third piece in our series of blog posts examining the study, we’re looking at what the results mean for the future of community housing and key takeaways from the report. Read on to learn more.


Historical results

To understand the potential outcomes, we must examine the historical link between economic productivity and community housing. The data finds that community housing contributed more to economic growth between 1962 and 1993, a period during which there was significant federal investment in housing.

Conversely, labour productivity dropped in the years 1994 to 2021, corresponding to a drop in the percentage of the overall housing stock and in investment in community housing.


What this means for the future of community housing

Canada’s economic productivity is expected to trail that of peer nations over the next decade. Our economic prosperity depends on improving this factor.

The study constructed a series of models to determine the impact of an increase in community housing to Canada’s economic productivity, culminating in a model scenario where the percentage of the overall housing stock is increased to 7% (the OECD average), finding that it results in a 5.7% to 9.3% increase in productivity by 2030. This would boost the GDP by an estimated $67billion to $136 billion in the same period.

To meet the defined targets for community housing, more than 371,600 new community housing units must be built by 2030. Deloitte projects that Canada will add about 1.5 million housing units in that period, meaning that nearly one quarter of all homes built over the next seven years must be community housing if we are to hit the OECD average.


Key takeaways

What happens to productivity and economic growth if Canada builds enough community housing to achieve the OECD average of 7% of the total housing stock?

Housing Completions. Deloitte’s projections indicate that Canada will add 1.57 million housing units by 2030.

Share of Community Housing. To reach the goal of 7% community housing share of housing stock by 2030, we will need to add 371,600 community housing units, representing approximately 24% of all homes constructed in that period.

Productivity Impact. Meeting this goal results in a 5.7% to 9.3% increase in productivity, equivalent to a $110 billion to $179 billion boost to GDP in 2030.

Opportunity Cost. Moving construction from private to community housing units leads to a $43 billion opportunity cost. However, the report notes that expanding community housing stock is not limited to new construction. The stock can be increased through acquisition as well.

Net Impact. Taking into consideration the impact on productivity and opportunity cost, the additional units of community housing contribute $67 to $136 billion to GDP in 2030.

If we do not shift home construction towards community housing, the economy will not realize these economic gains.

Through this research, Deloitte established that investing in community housing boosts our productivity and in turn, our economy’s potential output growth. With the boost to productive potential, these investments are considered non-inflationary. Of all the ways to boost our potential output, productivity gains are the most desirable as increasing productivity improves standard of living.


Stay tuned to the blog to learn about regional data from the report.

Check out The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity.