Are there more renters than owners in Canada?

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According to Statistics Canada, the decline in homeownership reflects trends in new construction linked to the densification of large urban centers

Rental is on the rise in British Columbia, with the number of homeowners down from its peak in 2011.

According to a new report from Statistics Canada published today (September 21), the number of renters in British Columbia (27.5%) increased almost three times more than the number of owners (10.4%) between 2011 and 2021. In addition, housing newly built homes are more likely to be occupied by renters as adults under 75 were less likely to own their homes in 2021 than adults in this age group ten years earlier.

Aaron Gorski, an analyst at Statistics Canada, says that even if the rate of homeownership is falling, it does not mean that the number of homeowner households has decreased.

“In fact, there are more homeowner households in British Columbia than ever before. But what we see in the census data is that the growth of renter households has outpaced this growth and that of owner households across the province,” Gorski said.

The report also shows that Kelowna had one of the highest growth rates for renters in British Columbia and Canada. The rate of tenants increased by 54.1%, compared to the growth of owners which is 16.9%.

“Unfortunately, these numbers are not surprising given the housing affordability crisis caused by the chronic lack of supply caused by decades of underbuilding, rising development taxes and other factors that have deteriorated affordability and made home ownership more difficult,” Kevin said. Lee, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, in a press release. “Today’s census figures reinforce the need for all levels of government to take action to address housing affordability and the supply of market-priced housing – this is especially true for municipalities. , which are essential to unlocking more offers.

According to the report, British Columbia has recorded the third largest decline in homeownership in the country. Provinces such as Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have seen the largest declines in homeownership.

The report indicates that the growth in the rental rate reflects the increase in the construction of multi-unit buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. Gorski added to that by pointing out that 40.3% of all homes in British Columbia built in the past five years were renter-occupied.

“So we’re seeing a lot more apartments in high-rise buildings, we’re seeing more condominiums, a lot of which are rented out and a lot of them will be in downtowns of urban centers,” he said. .

The number of high-rise apartments in British Columbia has increased by just under 25%, with the number of condos increasing by 15.8% since 2016. The Canadian Housing Statistics Program also reported that more one-third of first-time buyers in British Columbia bought a condominium in 2020.

Only Alberta rivaled British Columbia for the number of condominium residents, but British Columbia led the way with 23.6% living in condominiums.

Gorski said this shift to apartment living can be attributed in part to the number of young Canadians moving to inner cities. In addition, the homeownership rate among 25 to 29 year olds has increased from 44.1% in 2011 to 36.5% in 2021.

The report highlights that baby boomers and millennials have a strong influence on the housing market. Baby boomers made up the largest group of homeowners while millennials made up the largest share of renters.

For many British Columbians, the pressure of inflation and rising interest rates have had an impact on their housing expenses.

Gorski said that in British Columbia in 2021, the unaffordable housing rate was 25.5%, up from 28% in 2016. Statistics Canada calculates the unaffordable housing rate based on the number of households spending more than 30% of their income towards housing costs. . This includes rent and utilities for tenants or mortgage payments for landlords.

“The unaffordable housing rate was 29.7% in Vancouver, down from 32% in 2016,” Gorski said. “And for both locations, the drop in the unaffordable housing rate was greater for renters than for owners.”

He said that although there has been an increase in housing costs, rising incomes have provided a cushion to soften the blow of rising housing costs.

Gorski hopes this data will give Canadians a better idea of ​​what’s going on in their communities.

“For some, it can help provide insight into how best to make other housing decisions. Some people might want to move, others might want to stay or change their budget, so I think it’s really helpful for that,” he said.

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