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Study: Incomes from owner-occupied housing for working-age and retirement-age Canadians

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1969 to 2006

Between 1969 and 2006, home ownership made a significant and rising contribution to household finances for retirement-age households.

Using data from the Survey of Household Spending and its predecessor, the Survey of Family Expenditures, this study estimates the contribution to household finances generated by the home equity of working-age and retirement-age households.

The financial benefit of owning a home is equivalent to the rent that does not have to be paid.

Over the 1969 to 2006 period, an era of considerable variation in interest rates, incomes and employment, the majority of households persistently chose to invest in their homes rather than rent. This provided a considerable benefit to home owners later in life.

In 1969, nearly 7 out of 10 households headed by an individual aged 70 and over owned their home, with a similar proportion in 2006 owning their homes.

Of this group of retirement-age homeowners, the vast majority, about 9 out of 10 households, owned their homes without a mortgage, in both years.

For households in the 70 and over age group, the financial benefit from home ownership increased net incomes by 11% (+$412) in 1969, from $3,739 to $4,151. By 2006, this financial benefit increased the average incomes of this age group by 17% (+$6,391) from $38,343 to $44,734.

While there was year-to-year variability in the financial gains from home ownership, there was a general increase in its proportional contribution to household finances over the period. Retirement age households gained more from home ownership during the 1990s and 2000s than they did, on average, during the 1970s and 1980s.

Note: Net income is defined as gross income less income taxes and payments made for employment insurance, life insurance, annuities, and public and private pension plans.

The article “Incomes from Owner-occupied Housing for Working-age and Retirement-age Canadians, 1969 to 2006,” is now available online as part of the Economic Analysis (EA) Research Paper Series (11F0027M2010066, free). From the Key resource module of our website, choose Publications.

Similar studies from the Economic Analysis Division are available at (

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mark Brown (613-951-7292), Economic Analysis Division.