Census data revealed that the number of families renting their homes grew twice as fast as those who owned.
Statistics Canada revealed on Wednesday that the number of households renting their homes grew by more than 21 percent between 2011 and 2021. By contrast, the number of households owning their homes increased by only eight percent over the same period.
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Despite the narrowing of the gap, the number of owners still outnumbered the renters by a large margin. More than 10 million families owned their homes last year – about double what five million rented.
In general, Canadians were less likely to own their own home than they were in 2011.
The shift away from home ownership is particularly evident among the generation that often wants to buy: the young.
In 2011, about 44 percent of those aged 25 to 29 owned their own home. By 2021, that percentage had fallen to 36.5 percent.
And the rate of decline in the following age group was almost clear: from 59.2 percent for those aged 30 to 34, to 52.3 percent.
Shrinking young professionals
Kirsten Lynne is among the growing group of young professionals who are fed up with the affordability of housing. She moved to Yellowknife in the summer of 2019, and despite her earning a six-figure salary, she was shocked at how hard she could afford the housing options.
She was renting a one-bedroom apartment for $1,800 a month, but that was before the landlord moved in to upgrade the apartment and charge additional fees—a phenomenon known as “renovation.”
She told CBC News that she had considered buying an apartment, but “the buying options in Yellowknife Market are bleak for a single person on an income like me.” So she’s currently renting a two-bedroom apartment for $2,000 a month.
“Your dollar doesn’t bring you much here.”
Lynn is 36 years old, and her choice to rent versus own is a symbol of her generation. Census data shows a clear demographic gap between those who own and those who rent, with the baby boomer generation — defined by the data agency as anyone aged 56 to 75 in 2021 — making up 41.3 percent of all homeowners in Canada.
Meanwhile, millennials — aged 25 to 40 in 2021 — made up 32.6 percent of all renters.
While both owning and renting have a cost, those who own their homes have been fortunate enough to offset these costs by significantly increasing the value of their homes. This is not the case for anyone who rents.
Even worse for renters is that the average cost of keeping the roof over their heads has increased by more than those who own it have experienced. The average cost of shelter among renters has grown 17.6 percent in the past five years, from, on average, $910 a month in 2016, to $1,070 in 2021.
That’s nearly double the 9.7 percent increase for landlords, whose average monthly cost rose from $1,130 in 2016 to $1,240 last year.
These costs include not only rent and mortgage costs, but also things like maintenance and utilities.