Homeownership Out of Reach For Many, Finds Canada-Wide Survey

Homeownership Out of Reach For Many, Finds Canada-Wide Survey

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New research has found numerous economic barriers are making it difficult for Canadians to move out of renting and into homeownership.

A majority of Canadians plan to own a home someday, but it remains inaccessible for 50% of Canadians age 18 and over, according to recent data compiled by the Canadian Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) [1, 2].

In the 2022 Housing Headache Survey, 53% of Canadians polled own their homes, while 45% rent or lease, with 2% noting they fall into neither category.

Out of those renting or leasing, 50% believe they will not purchase a home in the future.

Only 21% of non-homeowner respondents replied it’s very likely they’ll one day find their way to homeownership, while 29% think it’s somewhat likely.

The Barriers to Homeownership in Canada

Canadian homeowners seem very mindful of the potential future impacts of an interest rate increase on their property.

As reported in the survey, potential rising interest rates were most frequently cited by Canadians who do not currently own their home, as a barrier to ownership (89%).

The next most reported challenges included affording a down payment (84%), affording necessary renovations (83%) and finding a home in a desired area (83%).

Other obstacles to homeownership listed in the 2022 Housing Headache Survey included tax affordability (81%) and paying for a mortgage (81%).

Income instability also came up as a challenge for many first-time homebuyers (69%).

Canadian Homeowners Also Face Significant Challenges

According to the survey, of the Canadians that have purchased a home for their own, personal, residential use, homeowners are running into the same or similar challenges that renters faced to purchase a home.

For example, the majority of people who have had to renovate or maintain their home say the costs are a hindrance.

Three out of five current owners reference renovation costs as a financial hurdle.

45% of the survey respondents stated they continue to have trouble affording basic home upkeep.

In addition, mortgage payments can be challenging. 42% of those surveyed say they are having trouble with paying property taxes and utility bills.

The Generational Gap in Canadian Homeowners

To note, the generations referenced in the Housing Headache Study are as per the following birth year framework, according to Statistics Canada [3]:

  • Greatest Generation – before 1928
  • Interwar Generation – 1928 to 1945
  • Baby Boomer Generation – 1946 to 1965
  • Generation X Generation, or ‘Gen X’ – 1966 to 1980
  • Generation Y, also known as ‘Gen Y’ and/or ‘Millennials’ – 1981 to 1996
  • Generation Z Generation, or ‘Gen Z’ – 1997 to 2012

While not clear in the study data, the details of those born prior to 1946 seem to be combined with the Baby Boomer generation.

Canadians under 18 were not polled for this survey.

Therefore, all Gen Z data shared in this survey encompasses only those born between 1996 and 2004.

Of note: As of the 2021 census in Canada, the Baby Boomer generation no longer carries the ‘demographic weight’ they used to [3].

In 1966, Baby Boomers accounted for 41.7% of the Canadian population, but by 2021 that had dropped to 24.9%.

Statistics Canada explains that lower immigration in this age range, coupled with higher mortality, account for these significant decreases.

However, Baby Boomers still comprise the largest generation in Canada today at 9.2 million people.

Millennials (7.9 million), then Gen Z (6.7 million), form the two fastest growing generations in Canada, with Gen X (7 million) following behind.

Both Millennials (8.6%) and Gen Z’s (6.4%) growth since 2016 in Canada are attributed to immigration; more than half of all immigrants that settled in Canada between 2016 and 2021 were Millennials.

Canadian Homeownership Challenges By Generation

When it comes to homeownership, the youngest generations, Gen Z and Millennials, are most optimistic.

Almost three-quarters of Gen Z and seven out of 10 Millennials expect they’ll become homeowners in the future.

While Baby Boomers (80%), Gen X (85%) and Millennials (85%) yet to purchase a home were concerned about finding housing in a desired area, members of the Gen Z demographic were less concerned (78%).

Homeownership rates in Canada are much higher for the younger generations than for the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations.

But, among those in the older generations who don’t own their own home, there is less hope with Gen X and Baby Boomers to purchase; only 38% of Gen X and 13% of Baby Boomers believe it’s likely that they will ever move from renting into homeownership.

Affording a down payment to get a mortgage seems to bother Millennials (86%), Gen Z (81%) and Gen X (87%) more than Baby Boomers (78%), whereas paying taxes concerned Gen X the most (84%) and Baby Boomers the least (77%).

Canadian Homeownership Challenges By Gender

Trends from CPA Canada’s survey showed that 93% of women and 85% of men are worried about increases in interest rates.

The same pattern remains with affording a down payment: 86% of women and 81% of men find affording a down payment a barrier to homeownership in Canada.

As well, the women polled worry about their ability to pay taxes (85%) more than any other group surveyed; compared to the men polled, there’s a significant gap (77%).

Demographic Breakdown of the Housing Headache Survey

The survey poll data found 51% of respondents were female, and 49% male.

11% were between the ages of 18 and 24, 17% between 25 and 34, 16% between 35 and 44, 18% between the ages of 45-54, 18% between ages 55 and 64, and 20% were over the age of 65.

Survey participants were also asked about their educational background. 42% had no college or university education, 34% some college or university education, and 24% stated they had a college diploma or higher.

The marital status of the participants varied too. 35% identified as single and never married, 15% shared they lived with a partner, 33% were married and 5% widowed, while 12% were divorced or separated.

All regions of Canada were represented in the survey, except Northern Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut).

13% of participants hailed from BC, 11% from Alberta, 6% from Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 39% from Ontario, 24% from Quebec, and 7% from the Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador).

Of the participants that have children, 21% had children under the age of 18. 46% of all Canadian respondents aged 33+ (n=1642) had adult children over the age of 18.

32% of all respondents live in a one-person household, 36% in a two-person household, 15% in a three-person household, 11% in a four-person household, and 5% in a five-person household.

The employment status shared by the survey participants was varied, although most stated they worked full time during the polling dates (41%).

11% shared they worked part-time, 6% were unemployed and seeking work, 7% were unemployed and not seeking work, 1% were temporarily laid off, 2% were full-time caregivers, 4% were full-time students, 1% were part-time students, 26% shared they were retired, and 2% declined to share their employment status.

More than half (54%) of all Canadian homeowners that responded to the survey (n=1115) carry a mortgage on their home.

About the CPAC’s 2022 Housing Headache Survey

Ipsos conducted the 2022 Housing Headache Survey on behalf of CPA Canada.

2,000 Canadians aged 18+ participated in this survey via the Ipsos website between March 24th and April 4th, 2022.

The data was weighted by age, gender, education and region to ensure sample composition reflected the Canadian population.

The data is accurate within +/- 2.5 percentage points, had all Canadians aged 18+ been surveyed.

1. Singerman, M. (2022, June 13). Home ownership feels out of reach for many, survey says. Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Canada. Retrieved from https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/news/canada/housing-survey
2. Chartered Professional Accountants Canada. (2022, June 1). Housing Headache Study 2022 Background Document.
3. Bouchard-Santerre, A., Bérard-Chagnon, J. and Martel, L. (2022, April 27). A generational portrait of Canada’s aging population from the 2021 Census. Statistics Canada Centre for Demography. Retrieved from https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/98-200-X/2021003/98-200-X2021003-eng.cfm


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