Canada has long been thought to be a welcoming hub for immigrants but not when it comes to housing or wages. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) released its Housing Experiences survey this morning. The study looks at how Canadians of various demographics felt about housing in 2018. Most are happy but it appears to be older households that bought a while ago. Minorities and recent immigrants appear to be a lot less satisfied. Data for the latter show 2 out of 5 recent immigrants are outright dissatisfied with housing.
Two Out of Five Recent Immigrants To Canada Are Unsatisfied With Their Housing
The majority of Canadians were satisfied with their housing arrangement. The agency found 8 out of 10 (82%) Canadians were satisfied with their living quarters in 2018. It appears this data tends to skew to older, more established households. That would have been before frothy valuations deviated from historic affordability.
Recent immigrants and visible minorities were much less satisfied with their housing. Just 3 out of 5 (63%) of recent immigrants said they were satisfied in 2018. That leaves 2 in 5 people arriving in Canada finding their situation less than ideal — and that was back in 2018. Home prices rising 42% since then, most likely made the situation a lot worse.
Canadian Housing Satisfaction By Demographic
The percent of Canadians satisfied with their housing by demographic compared to the national average.
Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.
Canada’s Visible Minorities Are Much More Dissatisfied, Likely Due To The Wage Gap
Visible minorities also tend to be less satisfied with their housing arrangement. They found lower satisfaction with Black (69%), Chinese (74%), and South Asian (75%) households. The national statistics agency doesn’t dive into why but the wage gap is likely a contributor.
Visible minorities born in Canada earn considerably less than their Caucasian peers. The Conference Board of Canada found wages to be up to 30% lower for these Canadians. Earning a lot less would provide a significant barrier to ownership or renting. Even when housing was “cheap” 10 years ago, it was still a hurdle for some.
Canada’s Racial Wage Gap
The percent difference in wages earned by Canadian-born visible minorities versus their Caucasian peers in 2010.
Source: Conference Board of Canada; Better Dwelling.
Most Canadians Own The Home They Live In… Unless They Are Black, Recent Immigrants or LGBTQ2+
Speaking of homeownership, they found the majority of Canadians live in owner-occupied housing. The survey shows 73% of households in 2018 lived in housing where the owner is a member of the household. Chinese-Canadians are most likely to own their home, with an 85% ownership rate. Not surprising if you know 90% of households in China live in owner-occupied housing. Senior (78%), South Asian (74%), and Veteran (73%) households were consistent with the average.
Not all Canadian demographics can claim such high rates of ownership. In fact, some can’t even claim the majority of the demographic as homeowners. Minority rates were found in Black (48%), recent immigrants (44%), and LGBTQ2+ (47%) households. A wage gap and soaring prices help to explain this trend. Though it’s not clear to what extent without a deeper study.
Generally speaking, older households have a higher homeownership rate in Canada. It makes sense when combined with 2 out of 5 recent immigrants dissatisfied with housing. Not only did the older demographic buy when it was more affordable, or secure rent when it was cheaper. They also saw a massive boost to their net-worth when housing became frothy five years ago. Their gain also happens to be a hurdle for new buyers.
The study didn’t focus on age but it would have been interesting to see a breakdown. One would assume younger households without generational wealth are similarly impacted.