Canada Rising Tide of Renters A Decade of Chang


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The latest Canadian census reveals a surge in renter households, with an increase of nearly 1 million over the past decade, hitting unprecedented levels across all age groups. Montreal is leading this trend, as noted in a Point2 study of Canada’s 50 largest cities. The shift towards renting is driven by various factors, including financial savings compared to owning in expensive areas, increased immigration, an aging population, a preference for maintenance-free living, and relocations for employment.

The trend has led to a record 33.4 per cent of Canadian households renting, the highest percentage ever. Millennials and baby boomers are the primary contributors to this increase. Initiatives such as the Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights and new housing aid funds are being introduced to support renters amid high demand and low vacancy rates. Notably, over 40 per cent of homes built between 2016 and 2021 are rented, marking the highest tenant rate in decades.

Montreal has the highest proportion of renters, with over 63 per cent of households renting, followed by Vancouver and Sherbrooke, Quebec. Toronto, while having the highest number of renter households, has a 48 per cent renter share. Cities like Kingston, with a large student population, see nearly 93 per cent of under-24-year-olds renting. Other cities like Richmond, B.C., and Ontario cities such as Waterloo and Markham have also seen significant increases in rentership. Younger demographics are particularly inclined to rent, with over 81 per cent of those under 24 and more than half of 25-to-34-year-olds renting, reflecting ongoing shifts in lifestyle and demographics in Canada.

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