Canadians Under 35 See Net-Worth Climb, But Toronto Is A Big Exception

Canadian households saw net-worth make big gains over the past few decades. Using Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data from the recently released Survey of Financial Security (SFS), we can see how net-worth evolved for each age group from 1999 to 2019. Generally speaking, net-worth soared for most demographics. However, there are some notable exceptions, like people under 35 in Toronto. Those people have seen their median net-worth drop compared to their peers 20 years ago.

Canadians Have Seen The Median Net-Worth Double Over 20 Years 

Canadian households have seen a huge increase in median net-worth over the past 20 years. The median net-worth for all households reached $329,900 in 2019, up 115.48% from 1999. The fastest growing age group was those 45 to 54, with a median net-worth of $521,100 – up 91.02% over that period. Those between 35 and 44 experienced the slowest growth, with a median net-worth of $234,400, up 68.03% over the period. Most of Canada saw gains from the rise in wealth, but those under 35 have some notable exceptions.

Canadian Median Net-Worth By Age Group

The estimated median net-worth of Canadians by age of household head, for selected regions.
Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

Toronto Sees Median Net-Worth Decline For People Under 35

Canadians under the age of 35 made big gains in their median net-worth, except in Canada’s biggest city. Across Canada, the median net-worth for this age group jumped to $48,800 in 2019, up 87.69% from 1999. Vancouver’s youth saw the median net-worth rise to $78,900, up 319.3% over the same period – over 3x the national rate. On the flip side of that stat is Toronto, which saw the median net-worth fall to $48,000, down 10.11% over the two decades prior. Yes, fall. Toronto is one of  two cities in the data set to show a decline over the past two decades, with Calgary being the other. 

Canadian Median Net-Worth Change Under 35

The percent change in estimated median net-worth of Canadian households led by someone aged 35 and under from 1999 to 2019, for selected regions. Adjusted for inflation.
Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

Canadians Between 45 and 54 See Biggest Median Net-Worth Gains

Canadian households led by people between 45 and 54 saw the fastest growth at the national level. As stated above, this age group now has a median net-worth of $521,100 in 2019, up 91.02% since 1999. Toronto’s median net-worth for this age group reached $840,300, up 207.91% over the same period. Households in Vancouver saw more modest gains at $757,000, up 82.06% over the two decades. Toronto is greatly overrepresented in terms of growth for this demographic. Vancouver is underrepresented in this area.

Canadian Median Net-Worth Change By Age

The percent change in estimated median net-worth of Canadian households by age of household head from 1999 to 2019, for selected regions. Adjusted for inflation.
Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

One important factor to consider for these demographics is their age in 1999. Most middle class net-worth has been produced by a rise in real estate values, not investments. This helps provide some context for the fastest growing demographic. Those between 45 and 54 would have been 24 and 35 at the first measurement. In a city like Toronto, they would have been buying real estate at the inflation adjusted trough.

Buying at this time would have accelerated their net-worth, with ideal market timing. It would have been near perfect generational timing in a city like Toronto. By 2019, the average home buyer across Canada is now 36. This means on average they would have lacked any real estate gains.

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  • SH 3 years ago

    The smart ones are planning their emigration strategy or have already left, likely never to return. Why would they? Canada offers the worst deal of any Western democracy.

  • Jason 3 years ago

    The net worth is going to drop tremendously when it all comes crashing down. I’ve seen semi detached prices in my area almost triple in 6 years and the bank of Canada is saying there is no bubble. lol man things are going to get ugly when this thing crashes.

    • Jon Silver 3 years ago

      Why would it crash? Devaluation of the currency seems more likely at this time. But maybe neither will happen. 100 million immigrants should keep prices elevated as the land is divided up smaller and smaller.

      • Jason 3 years ago

        This is the nature of mass illusion prices are going up. People are still buying. That pushes prices up further. That in turn brings in more people. And this continues over and over until prices get to where they are now and absolutely retarded. Every increase in home prices brings in more people with the thought that it is their God given right to get rich. With so much capital gains to be made on housing people are borrowing more and more to be a part of it. This is the exact same thing that happened for the 1929 crash to happen and that’s al there is to it.

        • Jon Silver 3 years ago

          People need housing to live. Prices to build are way up due to regulations and won’t be coming down. So unless Canada’s population starts shrinking, I don’t see prices crashing. They will probably just remain high and stagnate.

          • Jason 3 years ago

            That is not the way a bubble works. Every time there is a bubble and people stop buying into it inventory will catch up and prices will come down tremendously and that will in turn lead people to sell bringing prices down further and then that in turn brings in more people to sell and they often go down to prices before the boom started. The same mechanism that leads people to sell is what drove prices up FEAR AND GREED.

  • Jason 3 years ago

    This information just proves boomers net worth is in real estate.

  • C 3 years ago

    Net worth in your principle residence only works if you sell and can buy a replacement of lesser value – otherwise it is a paper gain on an asset you can’t draw income from

  • Old Greg 3 years ago

    I’m looking forward to an interest rate spike once people wake up and start selling dollars for hard assets (i.e. Gold Silver & Crypto’s) and the Government get’s freaked out which will happen when the population starts loosing faith in their currency’s (which I have and own very few $’s). Get ready for the “great reset”, enjoy the catastrophe!

    • Jon Silver 3 years ago

      Do people have dollars to sell? Most of their net worth is in housing. Most of the dollars in the system are concentrated in the top 1%. As long as they don’t spend it (buying up the things the commoners want, or spending in a way that the money goes to the commoners) there won’t be inflation.

  • GR 3 years ago

    Americans reading this article for comparison, please revise these downwards by 20% to get the numbers in USD. 1M CAD = 800K USD roughly

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