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Study: Home ownership among young Canadians

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The Daily


Tuesday, October 23, 2007
2006

According to a new study, in 2006, young adults in rural and small towns were more likely to be homeowners than young adults in Canada's three largest metropolitan areas.

The study, published today in Canadian Social Trends, points to housing costs, which are much higher in Canada's largest metropolitan areas, as the main reason for this gap. The relative scarcity of rental housing in less populated areas may also be a factor, it said.

In Canada, 6 out of every 10 young people aged 25 to 39 in Canada who did not live with their parents owned their own home in 2006, according to the study, which was based on data from the 2006 General Social Survey (GSS).

However, the proportion was highest (71%) among young people in this age group who lived in a rural area or in a small town.

In contrast, 54% of those living in the census metropolitan area of Vancouver and 53% of those living in Toronto owned their own home. The proportion fell to less than one-half (48%) among those living in Montréal.

Overall, three-quarters of young adults aged 25 to 39 who no longer lived with their parents reported in the GSS that owning their own home was very important to them.

However, several factors in the last few years may have had a negative impact on home ownership for young people. These include rising housing prices, particularly in large urban centres, their desire to stay in school longer, and their decision to delay various milestones in life, such as marriage.

Income: A major determining factor

Despite the impact on home ownership rates of various factors relating to individuals themselves, it was household characteristics that mattered most to a person's chances of being a homeowner.

Young adults were most likely to own their own home if they were married and had children, as well as if they had higher household incomes.

The study found that household income is one of the factors, if not the single factor, with the biggest impact on the likelihood of owning a home.

Holding the other factors such as age, highest level of schooling, living arrangements and place of residence constant, the odds of being a homeowner were 1.7 times higher for young adults with a household income of over $100,000 than for those with an income between $50,000 and $80,000.

This association is hardly surprising and reflects results of numerous earlier studies. Obviously, insufficient income represents the major obstacle to home ownership. This was quite apparent when it came to living in larger urban centres.

Just 22% of young adults reporting a household income of less than $30,000 per year were homeowners in 2006. On the other hand, 68% of those with a household income of $50,000 to $80,000 were homeowners, as were 82% of those with an income of $100,000 or more.

Location also made a significant difference. Two-fifths (40%) of young adults who had household incomes of under $30,000 a year but who lived in rural settings were homeowners. This was more than twice the proportion of only 16% among their counterparts who lived in one of Canada's six largest metropolitan areas.

Even for those young people with the highest household incomes ($80,000 or more a year), there was a difference, although not as great. The study found that 78% of these big city dwellers were homeowners, compared with 85% of those living in rural areas and small towns.

Home ownership rates vary with age, living arrangements, employment

The study found, not surprisingly, that home ownership rates increase directly with age, and are strongly associated with living arrangements and employment.

Only 38% of young people aged between 25 and 27 owned their own homes in 2006. This proportion rose to 63% among individuals aged 31 to 33, and 73% among those aged 37 to 39.

Even when all other factors that influence home ownership are held constant, the impact of age remains statistically significant. For example, the odds that people aged 37 to 39 would own their own home were 2.2 times higher than those for individuals aged 25 to 27.

Home ownership also varies strongly according to living arrangements. In 2006, 79% of married young adults who had children owned their own home. This proportion was only 40% among individuals living alone and 33% among lone parents.

GSS data show that even when the impact of income and other factors are held constant, young people with temporary jobs had 40% lower odds of owning their own home than people with permanent employment.

Few recent immigrants own their own home

GSS data show that the number of years spent in Canada since immigration is associated with the probability of being a homeowner.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of young adults born in Canada and no longer living with their parents were homeowners.

However, this was true of less than half (48%) of their counterparts who had immigrated to Canada five to nine years prior to the survey, and of only 20% of immigrants who had arrived in Canada sometime in the five years preceding the 2006 GSS.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4501.

The study, "Young people's access to home ownership", is now available in the October 2007 issue of Canadian Social Trends, Vol. 84 (11-008-XWE, free) from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (613-951-5979; sasd-dssea@statcan.gc.ca), Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division.