Latest census results revealed that 30-year-old Canadians are less likely to own a home today than their baby boomer parents did at the same age, mirroring a modest but unmistakable decline in the national home ownership rate.
At age 30, 50.2% of millennials owned their homes, compared to 55% of baby boomers at the same age. Young adults today are more likely to live in apartments than their 1981 counterparts, are less likely to live in single-detached homes, and — as Statistics Canada found over the summer — more likely than ever before to still be living at home.
The figures should change the way Canada thinks about its real estate sector, according to Graham Haines, research and policy manager at the Ryerson City Building Institute in Toronto. Policy-makers have focused almost exclusively on policies to promote home ownership over the last 20-plus years, he said, pointing to tax policy and incentives.
“We have to start thinking about — if rent is going to start becoming a more important part of our real estate sector once again — how we make sure we’re building the right type of rental, rental where we need it and rental that’s affordable for the people who are going to be using it,” Haines said, as quoted by The Canadian Press.
In 2016, more than 9.5 million of the 14.1 million households captured in the census owned their homes, an ownership rate of 67.8% — down from 69% in 2011 after 20 steady years of baby boomers flooding the real estate market.
Since 2011, the census shows, the value of homes has steadily increased to a national average of $443,058, up from $345,182 in 2016 dollars. Vancouver had the highest prices in the country with the average home valued at over $1 million. Toronto was at $734,924 and Calgary at $527,216. Montreal came in at $366,974.
Overall, affordability remains an issue for almost a quarter of Canadian households, a figure that hasn’t changed much in a decade, with the pressure most acute in the hot housing markets of Toronto and Vancouver.
The federal Liberal government has promised to address affordability issues as part of an $11.2 billion, 11-year housing plan to be released in the coming weeks. It’s expected to have a heavy focus on building affordable units, with a new portable housing benefit that would be tied to individuals, rather than properties.
Housing affordability worst since 1990 – RBC
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