Owning your own home has long been a cornerstone of the American dream. So after the collapse of the US housing market in the mid-2000s, as homeownership rates plummeted, more than a few complacent Canadian observers — and anxious American ones — noted that the country’s northern neighbor was outpacing America. By 2011, Canada’s homeownership rate, or the share of households that own property, had climbed to 69%, while the U.S. rate had fallen to 66% from 69% in 2004, before bottoming out for several years of less than 64%. later.
But over the past decade, the two countries’ homeownership rates have moved closer to within one percentage point of each other in 2021 (66.5% in Canada, 65.5% in the US) as ownership levels in the United States have recovered while rising number of Canadians are completely squeezed out of the market year after year by double-digit home price growth.
When Statistics Canada reported a drop in the homeownership rate in September as part of the release of 2021 census data, the hit to one demographic group stood out: young adults. The home ownership rate for those aged 30 to 34 fell to 52.3% from 59.2%. The decline was even more pronounced among those in the 25-29 age group, falling by 7.6 percentage points to 36.5%.
Those declines look even sharper when compared to how young Americans fared between 2011 and 2021. Youth ownership rates have largely held steady or, in the case of 25- to 29-year-olds, increased. While the level of ownership is still slightly higher for young Canadians, the trend of the past decade shows a massive erosion of the ownership dreams of young people in this country.
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