Metro Vancouver’s exorbitant house prices are pushing up the percentage of renters, with some age groups overtaking even traditionally high-rental-rate Montréal, according to a new analysis of 2016 census data by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Overall, the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) still has the highest rate of renters in Canada, at 44.6% of households. But Montréal’s proportion of renters has dropped slightly, from 45% in 2011, whereas the proportion of renters in Vancouver and Toronto’s CMAs are on the rise.
Metro Vancouver’s renter rate rose to 36.3% in 2016, from 34.5% in 2011. Toronto CMA’s proportion of renters rose to 33.5%, from 31.7%, during the same period.
When broken down by age group, among non-immigrant millennials aged 25-34, the percentage of households that rent their homes is now higher in both the Vancouver and Toronto CMAs than in Montréal.
Between 2011 and 2016, the proportion of these renters in Vancouver rose by 7.4 percentage points to 63.2%. This resulted in Vancouver overtaking Montréal’s renter proportion in this age group, which rose 1.9 percentage points to 57.8%. Toronto saw even more rapid growth in renter rates among this cohort during the same period, rising 10.4 percentage points to 59.4% in 2016.
“Based on these figures, it could be that the faster growth in housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver than in Montréal had a greater impact on first-time buyers in these two urban centres,” CMHC said. “With these steady price increases, and the generally lower financial wealth of first-time buyers compared to repeat buyers, access to homeownership was probably more difficult than in the past for young households in Toronto and Vancouver.”
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