A Lot of Canadian Real Estate Owners Decided To Own 4 Or More Homes In 2020

When the pandemic hit Canadians bought as much toilet paper and real estate they could find. We took a dive through data provided by the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) on homeownership in 2020. A massive share of Canadian homeowners aren’t stopping at 1 home, but provinces have seen up to 1 in 5 owners buy at least a second home. In fact, in booming cities like Toronto, the share of homeowners with at least 4 homes is showing more growth than those buying second homes.  

Canadians Homeowners With Multiple Properties

Today we’re looking at multiple property ownership across Canada. Stat Can says these numbers are restricted to individual resident owners who occupy a residential property. It doesn’t include non-resident owners, or non-individual owners of housing such as institutional or corporate ownership. It’s just individuals residing in the location with more than one home, meaning it’s not a complete picture of how much housing has concentrated ownership. It’s just a fraction of the picture. 

1 In 6 Ontario Real Estate Owners Have At Least Two Homes

Ontario real estate has always been hot with investors, but it’s a bit of a surprise to see 1 in 6 (15.9%) own multiple properties. We found that 896,200 of the province’s homeowners had at least two properties in 2020, and of those 75,800 owners had at least 4 properties. 

Nearly 1 In 6 Ontario Homeowners Own At Least 2 Homes

The share of residential homeowners in Ontario that owned at least two homes in 2020.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Growth of multiple owners in Ontario is noteworthy as well. The number of owners with at least two homes climbed 3.1% (+27,200) in 2020. Those with at least 4 homes climbed 5% (+4,000), meaning owners of at least 4 homes grew at a rate faster than owners buying a second home.

Over 31,000 Toronto Real Estate Owners Have At Least 4 Homes

Toronto real estate is where the bulk of the province’s investors are located, where 1 in 6 (17.3%) of owners have two or more homes. It works out 396,200 homeowners with at least two homes in 2020, and of those 31,700 owners had at least 4 homes.

Annual growth in Toronto is also noteworthy, being amongst the highest of any city in the country. Ownership of multiple homes climbed 4.9% (+18,300) in 2020, the sixth fastest of any city tracked. The share that owned at least 4 homes climbed 8.7% (+2,500), which is a lot of people all of a sudden deciding they wanted multiple homes in the city. It’s certainly overrepresented compared to the growth of multiple property owners in the region.

1 In 6 BC Real Estate Owners Have Multiple Properties

British Columbia (BC) real estate has also seen 1 in 6 (15.6%) owners scoop at least a second property. BC has seen 293,300 homeowners acquire more than one property as of 2020, and 22,100 of those have at least 4 homes. The surge of investor-driven purchasing over the past decade certainly drove that much higher. Unfortunately historical data going back a decade isn’t publicly available.   

BC Residential Real Estate Owners With At Least 2 Homes

The share of residential homeowners in BC that owned at least two homes in 2020.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Vancouver real estate is considered a global commodity at this point, which obviously attracts owners of multiple homes. The share of homeowners with at least two homes climbed to 16.2% in 2020. That works out to 153,900 homeowners with multiple homes, of those 11,700 had at least 4 homes. Non-resident and vacancy taxes have likely helped to improve this number since 2017, but once again data that far back isn’t very accessible. 

Nearly 1 In 4 Nova Scotia Homeowners Own At Least 2 Homes 

Nova Scotia real estate has the largest share of owners with multiple homes of any province. Nearly 1 in 4 owners (22.8%) had at least one other property in 2020. It works out to 88,900 owners with at least 2 homes, of which 10,400 had at least 4 properties. The share of Nova Scotia homeowners with multiple properties makes it the highest of any province in Canada. 

Halifax real estate has seen the share of homeowners with multiple homes hit 1 in 6 homeowners (18.3%). It’s even higher than Toronto as a share. It works out to 29,400 owners with at least two properties, of which 3,200 have at least 4 homes. So basically 1 in 9 homeowners with multiple homes, owns at least 4 homes. Wordy, we know. At least we didn’t say prolix. 

Atlantic Canada Residential Real Estate Owners With At Least 2 Homes

The share of residential homeowners in Atlantic Canada that owned at least two homes in 2020.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

The Share of Multiple Homeowners In Atlantic Canada Is Generally Higher Than Other Provinces

The trend of higher rates seems consistent across Atlantic Canada. Over 1 in 5 (20.6%) of New Brunswick real estate owners had at least one other home in 2020. Newfoundland didn’t have complete provincial statistics, but of the cities with available data, it shows a double-digit share in those cities. It climbs all the way up to 22.1% of owners with multiple homes in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland. 

Manitoba Has The Lowest Incident of Multiple Homeowners, 

Manitoba real estate was only recently added to the data set, but it has the lowest share of any of the provinces. The share of homeowners in the province with a second home hit 14.6% of owners. Rural Manitoba interestingly had the highest share of multiple property owners at 19.7% of homeowners. 

Manitoba Residential Real Estate Owners With At Least 2 Homes

The share of residential homeowners in Atlantic Canada that owned at least two homes in 2020.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Last year, veteran mortgage broker Ron Butler explained more owners were opting to keep their home when upgrading. Instead, when Canadians are ready to move, many are using their existing equity as leverage to purchase a home. This is a part of the reason low rates tend to increase inequality — the more capital one has, the more leverage they also have access to. 

It’s great for existing homeowners but not so much those looking to break into the market for the first time. As the Bank of Canada (BoC) explained last year, lower rates drive home prices higher since people adjust their spending. The combination of trends no doubt led to the boom of investors capturing a large share of the market. 

At the same time, an increase of leverage can produce significant risk. This is especially true in a high inflation environment, where people buy property as an inflation hedge but forget that higher rates are typically needed to cool the inflation, which tends to reduce home prices. Over 100 years of property cycles and speculation data and everyone always acts surprised when it happens like clockwork

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21 Comments

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  • J 2 weeks ago

    https://betterdwelling.com/canadas-housing-supply-has-outpaced-household-formation-for-two-decades-bmo/

    92k “surplus” homes and here we are with 31k (4 x home investor/speculators). I hope they have fun with their extra three properties while so many are homeless.

    • TK 2 weeks ago

      You realize that these “three other properties” would in most cases be rented out to tenants? That’s a big benefit of owning them. They’re not just sitting vacant.

      • Gerald Silva 2 weeks ago

        Do not worry. They are toast, worse than the homeless people. Canadian mortgages are full recourse mortgages, except in Alberta & Saskatchewan provided, the mortgages are not insured.
        These folks who own 4 properties have no way out. Evidence will be clear in about 6 to 8 months from today 23rd JULY 2022.

        • Noitall 2 weeks ago

          For anyone who has lived through 20% mortgages 5%-7% is not a big deal. The sky is not falling and long term real estate invesyors will be just fine. Especially millenials. Remember that with home buying comes renos, appliances, windows and coverings, landscap, etc. That means the movement of money which always translates into good paying jobs. Kill the housing market and down goes the economy. Just thoughts from another point of view.

      • Gerald Silva 2 weeks ago

        Yes. 100% correct. Provided:
        1 The tenants do not loose their jobs.
        2 The landlord does not raise their rent to cover his or her operational costs, resulting in the tenant giving notice to leave, or simply defaulting the rent and ending in court to resolve an eviction notice, and the landlord loose at least 3 to 6 months free loading by the tenant until the court gives the judgement if they have children.
        3 The time it will take to sell one or two properties re-arrange finances, when tenants are not cleared.
        Finally, folks owning 4 properties must have a combined momma of a mortgage with the increasing mortgage rate. They are facing huge difficulties.
        BY THE WAY SITTING VACANT WOULD BE A BETTER DEAL BECAUSE IT WILL BE EASY TO SELL.

    • DavidH83 2 weeks ago

      They will be too busy complaining about the homeless to have fun.

  • G.A. BROWNE 2 weeks ago

    This is the 2008 moment. The rents should start collapsing as Canadians move in together to save costs. The beauty is the mortgages are probably insured which should crush CMHC and Government. Retired people are cohabitating to save costs. Which will lower demand. Young people are cohabitating to survive this economic crisis. This should collapse the real estate market across the country. cashflow is king!!!!!!!

  • Brian G 2 weeks ago

    Pure Greed …homes weren’t design to be investment tools they were places to live. All of these investors , home flippers and speculators ruined the “canadian” or American dream. If you worked hard got a good job, saved money you could buy a house have children and live. Now you can spend $60000 on school to make $45,000 coming out and in 5-8 years if you are a standout human make it to $100,000 maybe $120,000… at that rate in today’s markets you can save for 10 years to make a minimum down-payment…unless you live at home and have no sex or social life during your prime years. If the market dips like it is now you either just potentially lost your dream or have to rely on the bank of mom and dad. Free money in the form of staggeringly low rates and greed caused all of this. I hope you all lose all of your life savings to be honest. Extreme ignorance in believing the average citizen can afford to pay $3000 a month for your shitty one bedroom plus den. Now all of you prospectors are trying to screw your tenants with massive rent increases or else ( I’ll sell, I’ll move in, we need to renovate etc. You can all go to you know where. The system isn’t designed or isn’t supposed to be designed for the renter to ALWAYS lose

    • BCModerate 2 weeks ago

      Amazing rant Brian!
      *Fist raised in solidarity!*

      • Noitall 2 weeks ago

        So when rates go up the banks make more and that’s a good thing? Pay the sellers or pay the banks. Pay the rent or pay the mortgage….There’s always 2 paths fir you to choose. Wishing ill on others will only come back to bite.

  • Ted King 2 weeks ago

    Wow, I hope the whole thing blows up in their GREEDY faces. Keep jacking the rates up Tiff.

  • Neil 2 weeks ago

    And that’s why the middle class which is essential to the economy because it is and will be the foundation for equality and trickle down economy.The recourse will be expediental Wake up world Venezuela is coming to Canada!!! Tax Tax these people who have more than one house they are destroying the country Greed !! Yes how many politicians have second income properties ?????

  • Oleg Feldgajer 2 weeks ago

    Stephen,

    Congrats on your excellent post: “A Lot of Canadian Real Estate Owners Decided To Own 4 Or More Homes In 2020”. Well put! I read your posts with great interest and quite often tweet my responses. Keep up the good work, Stephen, as we need more voices of sanity to ensure that Canada is NEVER AGAIN taken for the ride by housing bubble speculators…

    In one of my recent tweets, I commented on the misguided explanations of the housing bubbles being linked to supply and demand. Your data proves without a doubt how wrong and harmful such assumptions can be. If we had more supply, perhaps the speculators would simply end up with 10 houses instead of 4?

    I also wrote about how to fight the fintech startups that are raising hundreds of millions and offering “all-cash” immediate purchases of houses to their clients – in exchange for a significant fee or lucrative lease payments…

    When billions are raised by all the “Buy Now Pay Later” and “Lease To Own” fintech startups – the young Canadian families are no match for such “unicorns”. So, if the governments and the politicians rejected all my previous recommendations – perhaps a MANDATORY QUESTIONAIRE I recommended in my post will do the trick? You can find more details in my post at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/smartab-wisdom-6-learn-from-housing-bubbles-oleg-feldgajer/

    Sincerely,

    Oleg Feldgajer – BASC, MASC, MBA & EMBA
    Redefining Entrepreneurship – One Advisory Board At A time™
    President & CEO
    Canada Green ESCO Inc.
    [email protected]
    https://canadagreenesco.ca/
    https://www.linkedin.com; https://twitter.com; https://www.youtube.com
    Author of: “AI Boogeyman – Dispelling Fake News About Job Losses”
    Subscribe to SmartAB™ at Substack
    BODs Serve Investors. Advisory Boards Are CEOs’ Best Friends™

  • BCModerate 2 weeks ago

    I still don’t know how to pronounce this man’s last name but I do enjoy reading his website and twitter!

    The BC stats were very interesting. A ton of secondary property owners in the new Natural Gas sector up NorthWest.

  • Matt 2 weeks ago

    Lots of comments talking smack here. My wife and I invested in an income producing property that we bought and fixed up because traditionally, real estate has been the main driver of family generational wealth. We did not buy it because we are “greedy”. We bought it because we hope it to be a small nest egg we can pass down to our children for school, down payment, starting a business, etc. Although there are some greedy people out there, many investors are average every day, middle class workers looking to create a slightly better life for their family. Stop hating and start working towards lessening your financial burden. No one way is perfect. Obviously the guv does not want the average person to gain wealth so they will do everything in their power to raise rates and tax us. The loser cheering this on are exactly that. Losers. Losers with weak will. I am a minority and my family immigrated here for a better life. I support the average person having a shot instead of ultra wealthy people who can find tax loop holes and have access to cheap money buy up all the real estate. I guarantee not much will change if the guv lays the hammer down on the little. Slight drop in prices before it being bought up for “cheap”? This country is ran on credit. Wake up fools.

  • Noitall 2 weeks ago

    So when rates go up the banks make more and that’s a good thing? Pay the sellers or pay the banks. Pay the rent or pay the mortgage….There’s always 2 paths fir you to choose. Wishing ill on others will only come back to bite.

  • Noitall 2 weeks ago

    No guts.
    No glory

  • Concern investor 2 weeks ago

    Sorry you feel this way. We have been a 10 year renter I know the challenges and uncertainty that comes with it. We worked our way up to hose ownership and rental property investment. I would not call it greed, it is an attempt to make a chance of having reasonable retirement.
    As to prices, it is Supply and demand of the free market. Very hard to go against that

  • dan 2 weeks ago

    they all bought on helocs. assets of one house used to leverage the next. watch the dominoes fall over in the next year. hahahaha

  • Beat the system yourself and not the landlords. 2 weeks ago

    Sound like there is people that have extreme jealousy issues posting in this comment section. And no I do not own multiple houses. I started out with nothing 30 years ago at age 20 and now at 50 I own one house that is 90% and 10% the banks. Then I wanted a better retirement but had no desire to deal with tenant issues, so guess what. I invested in farm land and that’s less return then housing but higher value market increase. Secret is they build new house everyday but they don’t make anymore farm land. So I guess I am also someone you can be upset as well. However anyone 30 and older could have done the same thing. After I read comments like this or on Facebook makes all the more happy I don’t have to deal with housing tenants.

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