NOT long after COVID-19 lockdowns began in May 2020, the head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicted a worst-case scenario wherein housing prices would plummet as much as 18 per cent.
Instead, the opposite occurred. Average home prices in the country rose 25 per cent between this and last February.
Now, with the housing market “on steroids” across the country, Canadians are taking sides. A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds 40 per cent of Canadians hopeful that housing prices continue to escalate, while 39 per cent are banking on a fall. One-in-five (22%) would like to see the average home price drop by an astounding 30 per cent or more.
Notwithstanding the staggering knock-on effects of a housing crash of such magnitude on almost every other aspect of the Canadian economy, it is an undeniable indicator of the amount of housing pain people in this country are experiencing coast to coast, in large communities and small.
Three-in-five (57%) rural dwellers say housing prices in their community are too high, alongside two-thirds (67%) of those who live in small cities. These levels rise above seven-in-ten among urban and suburban Canadians.
Given these sentiments, the Angus Reid Institute researchers collated data into a Housing Pain Index to understand the experiences and trials of Canadians who are either priced out or trying to maintain the value of their investments.
This study takes an in depth look at Canadians in four groups: The Happy, Comfortable, Uncomfortable, and Miserable. While those who are suffering the most housing pain tend to be younger and lower-income, each of these four groups is well represented in all regions of the country.
The Happy (13% of the population) are those who have little stress when it comes to housing:
- They’re older and higher-income
- Most likely to own a home and to have purchased that home more than 15 years ago
- Most (73%) do not currently pay a mortgage
- Among those who do pay a mortgage, all but a few could handle a monthly increase of $500 or more with relative ease
The Comfortable (26% of the population):
- Also older and higher income, less stressed than most Canadians when it comes to their housing situations
- Seven-in-ten are homeowners
- Two-in-five pay a mortgage (38%) while the rest have paid one off (62%)
- Among renters in this group, four-in-five say the amount they pay is either reasonable or maybe a bit low.
The Uncomfortable (36% of the population):
- Equally likely to be found in every province (between 32% and 39% in every region)
- They’re almost identically distributed between three household income levels (less than $50K, $50-99K, and more than $100K) and three age groups (18-34, 35-54, and 55+)
- More than half of the Uncomfortable (60%) own homes, three-in-ten (31%) rent
- Four-in-five (82%) homeowners in this group have a mortgage, just half (50%) of whom say they can manage the payments ‘quite easily’
The Miserable (24% of the population):
- Are the youngest group, demographically
- Are most likely to be in lower household income brackets,
- The most likely to be renters (42%)
- Among those who do own a home, 97 per cent have a mortgage; only 10 per cent of them can manage payments with ease
- Four-in-five who are not home owners in this group say they would like to buy but can’t afford it
More Key Findings:
- Those who live in Metro Vancouver, the GTA, Montreal, and Halifax are most likely to say housing prices in their city are unreasonably high; at least 56 per cent in each region say this
- Among those who do not currently own a home, only one-in-five (21%) do not want one. 45 per cent say they would like to but can’t afford it right now, while one-quarter (25%) say they would like to but doubt they’ll ever afford it
- Canadians are overwhelmingly critical of their provincial government’s handling of housing affordability. At least half of residents in every province canvassed say their government has done a poor job on this file