Historically, owning your own home has been an important life goal for most people. Your own home represents security and stability and is an investment in your future. However, in recent years, homeownership has been falling in Canada while the number of renters has been on the rise.

Understanding the statistics and trends of homeownership is important not just for policymakers and the housing industry, but for all homeowners and prospective buyers, too. We have collated the latest key statistics into this article to give you an insight into recent developments in homeownership in Canada.

Homeownership Statistics for Canadians

  • Between the two Canadian censuses of 2016 and 2021, the portion of Canadians living in owner-occupied homes fell from 69% to 66.5%.
  • The homeownership rate of 66.5% from the latest census is the lowest since 2002.
  • Baby Boomers are the biggest homeowner age group, accounting for over 40% of all homeowners in Canada.
  • Just under 60% of new homes were owner-occupied in 2021.
  • Approximately 35.5% of Canadian homeowners have a mortgage in 2023.
  • The value of owner-occupied homes grew by almost 40% between 2016 and 2021.
  • House prices were down by 4% from the previous year in May 2023.
  • Couples, high-income earners, established immigrants, and university graduates are more likely to own their homes in Canada.

Homeownership in Canada

Between 2011 and 2021, homeownership declined across Canada and overall, there were 2.5% fewer Canadians living in owner-occupied homes in 2021 compared to a decade earlier. The portion of Canadians who lived in owner-occupied homes in 2021 was 66.5%. The only region where homeownership increased was the Northwest Territories where homeownership went up by 2% from 51.5% to 53.5%.

Prince Edward Island saw the largest decrease in homeownership at 4.6% from 73.4% to 68.8%. Other provinces that saw large drops in owner-occupied homes were Nova Scotia where homeownership was 66.8% after falling by 4%, British Columbia with a 3.2% fall to 66.8%, and Ontario with a 3.1% fall to 68.4%.

Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest homeownership rate in 2021 at 75.7%. New Brunswick and Alberta had the second and third highest rates at 73% and 70.9%, respectively. The lowest ownership rate was in Nunavut where only 19.2% of the population lived in an owner-occupied home. It was followed by the Northwest Territories with 53.5% and Quebec with 59.9%. However, Quebec saw the smallest drop in ownership rates at 1.3%.

When compared to other OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, Canada’s homeownership rate is below the 71.5% average across the OECD.

Historical Statistics on Homeownership in Canada

The portion of Canadians living in owner-occupied homes is higher now than it was in the early eighties. In 1981, 62.1% of Canadians lived in their own home. In 1990, the portion was up slightly, at 62.6%.

At the start of the new millennium, the portion of homeowners in Canada had risen to 65.4% and continued to rise, reaching the highest peak in 2014 when homeownership was 69.5%. It has since fallen to 66.5% according to the 2021 census, the lowest rate since 2002.

Canadians Under 75 Years of Age Less Likely to Own Than Before

Data collected in 2011 and 2021 shows that Canadians were less likely to own their place in 2021 than in 2011 in almost all age groups. The rate of homeownership decreased the most among 25-29-year-old Canadians from 44.1% in 2011 to 36.5% in 2021. The rate fell from 59.2% to 52.3% for the 30-34 age group, which was the second biggest decrease.

While the ownership rates fell among the older age groups, too, the changes were more subtle. For example, homeownership fell by just 0.7%, from 75.5% to 74.8%, among Canadians aged 70 to 74. The ownership rate increased among the over 85-year-olds largely driven by the ageing population’s high homeownership rates. 41.3% of homes are owned by Canadians aged 56 to 75, the largest home-owning age group.

Newly Built Homes Less Likely to Be Bought by Owner-Occupiers

Homes built in Canada since 2016 are less likely to be bought by owner-occupiers than investors. The share of owner-occupiers in new homes was the lowest in Quebec where only 38.7% of homes were lived in by the owners. It was followed by Halifax with 39.3% of owner-occupied new homes.

Among the largest cities in Canada, Montréal had the lowest portion of homeownership of newly built homes at 44.9%. Toronto and Vancouver came next with 56.6% and 57.4%, respectively. Calgary and Edmonton had the highest portions of new homes being lived in by the owners at 68.8% and 70.1%.

Overall, the rate of new homes that were lived in by the owners in Canada was 59.6% in 2021. This is considerably lower than it was between 2011 and 2015 when 71.5% of homes built in the last five years were owner-occupied. The highest rate of owner-occupied new homes was in 2001.2005 with 77.3%.

Mortgages in Canada

Approximately, 35.5%% of Canadian homeowners have a mortgage. This was a slightly bigger portion of the homeowners compared to the same period in 2021 when 29.63% had mortgages. Canadians aged 35-54 are the most likely to have a mortgage on their home.

Among Canadian homeowners, millennials were most likely to have the largest mortgages, having often purchased their homes more recently. According to the census from 2021, millennials homeowners paid on average $2,124 per month on their mortgages.

The interest rate increase of 1% in July 2022 meant that millennials getting a new mortgage or renewing an existing one would pay, on average, $2,378 per month, which is 12% more. If the interest rate would rise by 2%, they could be paying $2,648 per month and $2,934 per month with a 3% increase.

Canadian Homeowners in Ontario Expected Biggest Growth in Value

The census from 2021 asked homeowners in Canada what they would expect to get for their homes if they were to sell. The average expected value grew the most in Ontario at 59.4%, followed by British Columbia at 36.3% and Quebec at 29.8%.

In the territories, the average expected value grew by 22.6%, and in Atlantic Canada by 21.1%. Homeowners living in the Prairie provinces reported the slowest growth of just 2.2%.

House Prices Grew by Almost 40% Between 2016 and 2021

Canada has seen record house prices in recent years and the average value of owner-occupied homes rose by 39.6% between 2016 and 2021. During the same period, median household income after tax grew by 9.8%. When house prices grow faster than incomes, it makes it harder for people to buy a home.

Because of the rising prices, the net worth of homeowners in Canada has risen, too. Between 1999 and 2019, the net worth in 2019 constant dollars rose from $323,700 to $685,400.

House Prices in Canada Are Down From 2022

In April 2023, the average home price in Canada was $716,083, which was 4% higher than in March 2023. However, it was 4% lower than prices in April 2022. With 44.059 sales in April 2023, transactions were down by 19.5% compared to sales in the previous April but compared to March 2023, transactions were up 6%.

Among Canada’s biggest cities, Vancouver had the highest average house price at $1,295,266. It was followed by Toronto where the average home cost $1,153,269. Elsewhere, prices were lower. In Ottawa, the average was $677,678, in Montreal $565,786, in Calgary $549,524, in Edmonton $408,631, and in Winnipeg $377,427.

Compared to the year before, prices fell the most in Manitoba where they were 8.5% compared to a year ago. The biggest price increases were seen in Prince Edward Island at 12.4% and Nova Scotia at 8%. The biggest monthly increases were in Nova Scotia at 9% and in Newfoundland and Labrador at 8,7%, while prices fell the most in Alberta at 6.49%.

British Columbia had the highest average house price, at $961,451, followed by Ontario, at $881,946. However, in both cities, prices were lower than a year ago, down from $1,056,937 and $986,556, respectively. Average house prices were the lowest in Saskatchewan at $307,275 and in Manitoba at $338,022. Both provinces saw prices decrease from the previous year by 8.5% in Manitoba and 8.9% in Saskatchewan.

Homeowner Demographics in Canada

Canadians with higher educational backgrounds are more likely to own their own home than Canadians who finished their education after getting their high school diploma. In 2016, 55.6% of Canadians who had a high school diploma owned their own home compared to 67.7% of those who had a university degree.

The rate of homeownership is the highest, at 78%, among couples whether they have children or not. Among lone-parent families, the ownership rate is 44.8%, and unattached individuals 38.6%.

Established immigrants, people who have been in Canada for at least five years, are more likely to live in owner-occupied homes than Canadian-born individuals or recent immigrants. 69.7% of established immigrants live in owner-occupied homes compared to 61.9% of people born in Canada and 38.7% of recent immigrants.

Homeownership among self-employed Canadians is 75.5%. It is higher than the ownership rate among paid employees at 64.4% or those not in the labour force at 56.6%.

The portion of homeowners increases with income in Canada. Only 24.5% of Canadians in the bottom family income quintile live in owner-occupied homes. 53% of Canadians in the second quintile are homeowners, 69% in the third quintile, and 79.4% in the fourth quintile. The Canadians in the top income bracket are the most likely to be owner-occupiers with a rate of 88.2%.

Conclusion

The portion of Canadians living in owner-occupied homes has decreased in recent years, as more people are renting and younger people are living in their parental homes for longer. At 40%, Baby Boomers are the biggest homeowner group in Canada, while Millennials are most likely to have the biggest mortgages.

Home prices in Canada have risen by nearly 40% since 2016 and at the same time, the net worth of homeowners has increased by over $300,000 on average. British Columbia and Ontario have the highest house prices in Canada, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba have the lowest average house prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Based on the answers to the 2021 census, 65.5% of Canadians live in owner-occupied homes. This is a lower portion than in the 2016 census when 69% lived in owner-occupied homes.

There are huge differences in house prices depending on the area of Canada you are looking in. While the national average house price was $716,083 in May 2023, you can expect to pay a lot more in some areas and a lot less in others.

British Columbia and Ontario have the highest house prices in Canada, especially in urban centres such as Vancouver and Toronto, where average prices are $1,295,266 and $1,153,269, respectively. The lowest house prices can be found in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.

In the third quarter of 2022, 30.39% of Canadians had mortgages. Canadians aged 35-54 are the most likely age group to have a mortgage on their home.

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