A growing proportion of Canadians are spending around 30% to 40% or more of their total incomes on home ownership expenses like mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance, and utilities, according to the annual RBC Home Ownership Poll.
These overextended households, which are referred to as “house poor” owners in RBC’s analysis, now represent nearly four out of 10 (39%) Canadians. However, while 92% of respondents stated that this situation leads to anguish, almost half (47%) argued that “it’s worth the sacrifice.”
On the other hand, 51% said that they would not place themselves in this condition if they can help it.
A possible major contributor to this trend is an observed drastic shift in who actually participates in the buying market. As of 2019, the proportion of those buying homes with their partner/spouse has steadily dropped (42%, compared to 49% in 2017), while purchasing a residence by oneself has become more popular (32%, versus 29% in 2017).
“We’re seeing a fundamental contrast in who’s at the buying table,” according to Nicole Wells, vice-president of home equity financing at RBC.
“There is a surge in confident, in-control solo home buyers and, on the polar opposite end, those who are saying they can’t do it alone and need the assistance of family.”
On the whole, 56% of respondents indicated that it will be better to wait until next year to buy, with 47% citing prolonged economic uncertainty as the main reason. Among those delaying their purchases, 54% are looking forward to prices going down.