Canadian homes are shrinking – but not in square footage! Rather, the number of people occupying the average home is dwindling.
According to the Canadian Housing Observer released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) the average Canadian household has a population of 2.5. That’s down from 3.5 40 years ago. The report, which outlines what’s to come for the 2014 housing market, also points out a sharp rise in single-family residences. CMHC is predicting 2014 will be a good year for the Canadian housing market – here’s how the new home reality fits in.
Your Typical Home Buyer
The majority of Canadians are still buying single-detached houses, according to CMHC. Fifty five percent of homes purchased in 2011 fit these criteria. Now, though, there are more single people and couples with one or no children occupying these dwellings.
However, just because families are shrinking doesn’t mean the demand for size has. States the report, “In 2011, 72 per cent of couples with children lived in single-detached houses compared to just 33 per cent of one-person households.”
A Shift In Housing Construction
Historically Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario have dominated population growth and housing creation in Canada. But in the last 40 years that has shifted to the Prairie provinces. According to the report, “The number of homes built in Saskatchewan and Manitoba rose as population growth strengthened. In contrast to the Prairies, growth in British Columbia and Ontario was below average in 2012. Population growth slowed considerably in British Columbia in 2011, and in Ontario it has been at or below the national rate since 2007.”
More Canadians Are Living Alone
The number of people living alone has more than doubled in the last four decades. One of the major drivers is Canada’s aging population. Many seniors prefer to live alone in a downsized condo after their partner passes away. The CMHC reports points out that longer life expectancies for females means that considerably more senior women than men live alone.
There is also an increasing number of young people who are holding off on having children until later in life and spend more time living on their own during their twenties and thirties. The biggest concentration of singletons living alone: Trois- Rivieres, Quebec.
An Adapting 2014 Housing Market
Smaller families and longer life spans have had a positive impact on the construction of multi-unit dwellings in Canada. For more than a decade, units in multiples represented more than half of all housing completions from 2008 through 2012, according to CMHC.
The crown corporation is optimistic for Canada’s housing market in 2014, despite many experts predicting a slowdown. Chief economist at RBC Eric Lascelles recently wrote in about an impending correction in Canada’s housing market for this year. In The Globe and Mail columns he says “Canadian borrowing costs have been quite cheap, paired with ready access to credit. On the global stage, only a handful of countries managed to deliver this pairing, and all experienced rousing housing booms.”