According to the latest census data released by Statistics Canada today, the homeownership rate in Greater Vancouver is 63.6% – a few points below the national average of 67.8%.
But at seventh lowest, it was not the lowest in the country nor was it the lowest of Canada’s big three urban regions.
Montreal’s rate of 55.7% is the lowest homeownership rate of any Canadian metropolitan area while Toronto came in at 12th with a rate of 66.5%.
And with Alberta’s suppressed housing prices from the recent provincial recession, Calgary had one of the highest homeownership rates in the country, ranking at fifth highest with a rate of 73%.
When the data for Vancouver was further examined, the metropolitan area had the highest proportion – 30.6% – of households living in condominiums, just after second place Calgary at 21.8%. Moreover, Vancouver’s peripheral areas in Abbotsford-Mission and Kelowna had the third and fourth highest condo living rates, respectively.
Not surprisingly, overall homeownership rates across the country have come down slightly over the past decade, and the percentage of renters have risen in return.
Within the Vancouver area, the rate of homeownership fell by 1.4% since 2006. During the same period, home ownership rates dropped by more in each of BC’s three other census metropolitan areas, with Abbotsford-Mission falling by 1.9%, Greater Victoria by 2.1% and Kelowna by 4%.
With younger age groups, there was a wider decline in homeownership than the average rate across the board. The percentage of adults between the ages of 20 and 34 owning a home rose from 45.7% in 2006 to 47.3% in 2011 before falling to a decade-low of 43.6% in 2016.
However, some other secondary reasons other than affordability could also be in play.
“Definitely, prices can play a role as it’s harder to get into the market than it used to be,” Ryan Berlin, Senior Economist at Rennie Group, told Daily Hive.
“And some kids are staying at school later, but people are also in home later in life – they’re not just stopping at a bachelors degree, they’re getting a masters, PhD, post doctorate… so they’re increasingly in school throughout their 20s and early 30s. You’re more likely to rent and live at home than to own.”
Varying cultural factors and norms on homeownership also come with the growing percentage of immigrants in Vancouver’s population, even though immigration flows fell by 8% between the last two census periods.
There was a decline in immigrant growth in 15 of the 21 municipalities in the region, and the six municipalities that experienced an increase were all in the suburbs.