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The homeownership rate in Canada is declining, and young people in particular are less likely to own a home in 2021 than in 2011, Statistics Canada says.

According to the latest census release, two-thirds of Canadians owned a home in 2021, down from a high of 69 per cent a decade ago.

The decline in homeownership rates between 2011 and 2021 was greatest for younger Canadians, with the rate dropping to 36.5 from 44.1 for those between the ages of 25 and 29.

Canadians aged between 30 and 34 experienced a similar but slightly smaller decline in home ownership, falling to 52.3 per cent from 59.2 per cent.

Mike Moffatt, an assistant professor at Western University’s Ivey School of Business, said that shows why the number of homeownership is not helpful in understanding recent trends.

“As people grow older, there are more opportunities for them to own homes,” he said. “That’s why I think it will be important to separate the data by age group.”

Meanwhile, the employer’s rate has increased. Statistics Canada says the number of rental households grew at twice the rate of home ownership between 2011 and 2021.

Brittany MacKenzie, a real estate agent in Fredericton, NB, said she’s seen a change in attitude among young homebuyers as prices rise.

“I found that a lot of our small buyers were hesitant now and decided to rent less,” he said.

The government agency says newly built homes are increasingly occupied by renters, with 40.4 percent of new homes built between 2016 and 2021 now rented.

Statistics Canada also compared monthly shelter costs for renters and homeowners and found that those costs rose faster for renters than for homeowners in the most recent census period.

Average monthly housing costs for renters rose 17.6 percent between 2016 and 2021, outpacing inflation, as the consumer price index rose 9.5 percent over that period. For homeowners, monthly shelter costs increased by 9.7 percent.

Housing affordability improved in 2021, but one in five employers still spent more than 30 percent of their income on shelter costs.

Statistics Canada says the improvement in affordability was the most pronounced for low-income renters and can largely be attributed to the COVID-19 income support.

Moffatt said the data does not give an accurate picture of housing availability as a result of these support measures.

It’s going to be very misleading because people were getting this kind of income at one time,” Moffatt said.

The report also touches on the growing trend of condominium construction, especially in urban areas. Between 2016 and 2021, more than half of the homes built in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal were condos.

Millennials made up the largest share of the nearly 4.3 million Canadians living in condos by 2021, and nearly three in 10 residents were in that age group.

This Canadian Press report was originally published on September 21, 2022.

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