A Nation of Homeowners – Canada
In the middle of a worldwide recession, would it surprise you to hear that a record number of Canadians now own their own homes? It would surprise just about anyone, surely? But that is the conclusion from a report by the Bank of Nova Scotia, details of which were reported this week. The caveat to this is that the figures refer to households that owned their own home in 2006 (with the belief that the number increased yet further in 2007) and that the full figures for 2008 will not be known for a couple of years. What is indisputable, however, is that there has been a significant increase in ownership compared with the same figures a decade earlier.
The Scotiabank report states that in 2006 a record high 68.4% of Canadian households were owned by the householder, and that there was reason to believe that the percentage increased in 2007. This was in comparison with figures for 1996 that showed a total of 63.6% of householders owning their own homes. How the figures will be effected by the recession still remains to be seen, as the compilation of the figures from a wide range of sources in a wide range of different jurisdictions takes time. It may well be that there has been some fall-off in the last couple of years as people have sought to cash in the capital locked up in their house and begun renting. However, there is little likelihood that this will have taken the numbers beneath those set a decade ago.
Reasons for this rise in the figures must include the fact that “baby boomers” now make up almost the entirety of the 45-64 age group which is considered the prime house-buying section of society. With the birth numbers having been so elevated in the last 60 years, and the improvements in medical science that have been seen in the intervening period, there are now more people than ever who are ready, willing and financially able to buy a house. Aside from this, however, the numbers have increased for those in other demographics buying houses. this can be put down in large part to the desire for owning assets for the purpose of having something to subsidize a pension. People are saving for their retirement earlier and earlier these days, and using more methods than ever before.
In addition to the headline story of the report, there was also some interesting data to be found in that 9% of Canadian households now own a second property, typically used for the purposes of a holiday, compared to 7% in 1999. How this will have been affected by individuals cashing in on their properties in order to ride out the current recession remains to be seen, and certainly it is unlikely that the numbers will rise as quickly over the next few years. Nonetheless, the changing trend towards home ownership seems to suggest that those who rent their homes will stay in the minority for some time yet.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 23, 2009.
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