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Changing Patterns in Canadian Homeownership and Shelter Costs, 2006 Census: Highlights

Homeownership increasing

More than two-thirds of Canadian households (68.4%) owned their dwelling in 2006, the highest rate of homeownership since 1971. Of the 12.4 million households in Canada, more than 8.5 million owned their home.

The increase during the past five years continues the long-term trend in rising homeownership that began in 1991, after a period of low growth during the 1980s.

Households in the Atlantic provinces continued to have the highest homeownership rates in the country in 2006 with Newfoundland and Labrador ranking first at 78.7%. Households in Quebec had the lowest provincial rate, at 60.1%. This continues patterns in effect since 1971.

Mortgage holding also up

Nearly six out of every 10 households that owned their home had a mortgage in 2006. This was the highest level since 1981 when baby boomers were entering the housing market and an increase since 2001 (57.9% versus 55.2%).

Provincially, Alberta had the highest proportion of households with a mortgage (62.1%) and Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest proportion (44.8%).

Condominium ownership rising quickly

The increase in condominium owners between 2001 and 2006 accounted for more than one-quarter of the increase in the number of Canadian households that own their dwelling.

In 1981, less than 4.0% of owner households were condominium owners. By 2001, this proportion had more than doubled to 9.0%, and by 2006, it had reached a record high of 10.9%.

The census enumerated 913,000 households who owned a condominium in 2006, up 36.5% from five years earlier.

Shelter costs increase at faster pace for owners

Shelter costs reported by Canadian households (including both owners and renters) increased faster than consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), between 2001 and 2006 (11.3%). They rose faster for owner households than for renters.

For renter households, median annual shelter costs rose by 12.8% between 2001 and 2006, only slightly faster than consumer prices. For owner households, spending on shelter increased 21.6%, almost twice as much as the increase in the CPI.

In 2006, the median annual shelter cost for renter households was $8,057. For owner households, it was $10,056. For owners without a mortgage, it was lower, at $5,054 and for owners with a mortgage, it was higher, at $15,263.

Percentage of households spending 30% or more of their income on shelter up marginally

In 2006, an estimated 3.0 million households spent 30% or more of their income on shelter. This represented 24.9% of all households, up marginally from 2001 (24.1%). Homeowners with mortgages accounted for most of this increase.

In 2006, just over half of the households that spent 30% or more of their income on shelter were renters, a decline from 2001. Households that owned a home with a mortgage accounted for 41.0%. The remaining 8.1% were households that owned a home without a mortgage.

Those who spend 30% or more of their household income on shelter may do so by choice, or they may be at risk of experiencing problems related to housing affordability as defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This report looks at the characteristics of those who spend 30% or more on shelter but has no information about whether they do so by choice.

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