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Canadian Housing Survey: A profile of first-time homebuyers, 2018

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Released: 2020-01-15

Just over 1.3 million, or 9.0%, of Canadian households bought their first home within the previous five years according to new data from the 2018 Canadian Housing Survey.

However, the type of home these first-time homeowners bought depends on where they live. Rising home prices in certain markets over the last decade, changes in mortgage underwriting rules and shifts of the housing stock toward multifamily dwelling constructions are among the factors that can influence first-time buyers when they choose a home.

Nationally, just over half of first-time homebuyers (52.9%) bought a single-detached home within the previous five years. In Canada's three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs), however, this rate is lower, at 38.1% in Montréal, 26.4% in Toronto and 21.4% in Vancouver.

What motivated first time homebuyers to enter the market? Two-thirds cited "to become a homeowner" as their top reason for entering the housing market, while one-quarter reported "to upgrade to a larger or better quality dwelling" or "to form own household."

Families accounted for about three-quarters of first-time homebuyers nationally and in the CMAs of Toronto and Montréal, compared with just over two-thirds of first-time homebuyers in Vancouver.

About half of first-time homebuyers nationally and in the CMAs of Montréal and Vancouver were under the age of 35, compared with 41.2% of first-time homebuyers in Toronto.

  Note to readers

Today, Statistics Canada is releasing its second set of results from the 2018 Canadian Housing Survey (CHS) on first-time homebuyers.

The CHS is a new survey sponsored by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and it will run biennially until 2028. The CHS will collect new information on dwelling and neighbourhood satisfaction, first-time homebuyers and housing affordability, and many other important dwelling and household characteristics in every province and territory.

The CHS also provides data on households living in social and affordable housing. Data from the survey will measure whether Canadians have housing that meets their needs and that they can afford.


The technical report "First-time homebuyer concept: Technical reference note," part of the Income Research Paper Series (Catalogue number75F0002M), is now available.

The infographic "First-Time Homebuyers in Canada, 2018," which is part of the series Statistics Canada — infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), is now available online.

The first of results from the 2018 Canadian Housing Survey, which were released on November 22, 2019, are also available.

The Housing Statistics Portal is also available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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