Canadian seniors are showing greater participation in the housing market, especially in the townhome segment, according to a report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The share of seniors aged 65 and over in Toronto’s metropolitan area who own homes grew 4.5% between 2006 and 2016, reaching 25%. Townhomes, however, grew the most, from 11.5% to 17%. The report attributes the growth in homeownership among the demographic to increased labour force participation.
“The share of working seniors has increased between 2006 and 2016 censuses, which was evident among both owner and renter households,” said the report, entitled Seniors Housing Profile in the Toronto CMA. “In 2016, employment became the primary source of income (including self-employed) for close to one-third of homeowner households, compared to 20% among renters. With more seniors working, fewer have been reliant on income from government sources compared to a decade ago. Among homeowners, there has been a strong increase in the share of retirees for whom pensions (public and private) were their primary source of income. These trends have translated into faster income growth for seniors.”
In 2016, the median income for a household headed by a senior surpassed $59,000, with homeowners driving the income growth, while seniors who rented were behind younger age groups. That doesn’t break from historical trends, though.
“Historically, across all age groups, homeowner households tend to have higher incomes compared to renters,” continued the report. “However, over the past years more young professionals with high earnings have been renting in Toronto, thus contributing to a decrease in the income gap between renters and homeowners in the younger cohorts. For seniors, though, the income difference between renters and homeowners widened further.”
While the homeownership rate among seniors increased, their share of renters declined. In 2006, 43.3% were renters, and a decade later the number fell to 41.9%—a likely result of growing labour force participation.
“The majority of senior renters chose apartments (purpose-built and condominiums), however, their ratio declined to 89.4% in 2016 from 92% a decade earlier, with more seniors preferring to rent ground-oriented homes (single-detached, semis and towns). This shift was likely caused by declining vacancy rate of rental apartments.”