Landlord Nation: Over 1 In 6 Canadian Homeowners Own Multiple Properties

Canada is a nation of landlords, and quickly turning it to a country of haves and have nots. A new data drop from Statistics Canada (Stat Can) shows the number of homeowners with at least one other home in 2020. Provinces reported as high as 1 in 5 homeowners held multiple properties, and owned over a third of the housing stock. 

Over 1 In 6 Canadian Homeowners Have Multiple Properties

Canadian real estate has been such a strong performer, why not double down? That’s precisely what over 1 in 6 individual homeowners did. Land registry data shows the share of multiple property owners is highest in Nova Scotia, where over 1 in 5 (21.6%) homeowners had at least two properties. A high share of owners with multiple properties was also seen in New Brunswick (19.6%), Ontario (15.5%), and British Columbia (15.0%). 

Share of Canadian Homeowners That Own Multiple Homes

The share of Canadian homeowners that own multiple homes. This excludes corporations or institutions.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Unfortunately the program has yet to add other provinces, but they have told us they expect to add more data in the coming months. 

Investors Own Up To 40% of Housing Stock In Provinces

The small share of homeowners owns a seriously large amount of housing stock. Multiple property owners held more than a third of Nova Scotia’s housing stock (40.9%). New Brunswick wasn’t too far behind again with 38.7% of homes owned by owners with at least one other property. 

Both Ontario (31.1%) and British Columbia (29.1%) also showed nearly a third of housing stock was owned by owners with at least one other property.

Share of Canadian Housing Stock Held by Owners of Multiple Homes

The percentage of housing stock in selected Canadian provinces owned by owners of multiple homes. This excludes corporations or institutions.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Remember, these numbers are only individual property owners. Corporations and institutions are excluded from this share and are common arrangements for professional landlords. 

The share of housing held by corporations and institutions was only available for Ontario (7.6%) and British Columbia (10.0%). Stat Can specified the majority of this housing is owned by corporations, which means we have no idea who really owns them. 

Property registry data lags, but it would be hard to see the share fall into 2021. Low interest rates and high inflation created an environment where investors were essentially incentivized with free money. It was a significant share of the “excess” demand that sent home prices higher, as more leverage essentially meant more free money. 

Rising rate environments tend to squeeze the investor class most, since they’re trying to run a profitable operation. While 2021 data won’t be reported until next year, it will almost certainly show an increase. Though the rising rate environment might have a significant impact on the trend by that time.  

5 Comments

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  • Agent bob 7 months ago

    The government needs to take a strong stance in making investment properties less attractive.
    Investors should not be able to write off mortgage interest and many other tax writeoffs need to be eliminated as is already the case in New Zealand and other countries.
    There should also be a 3% yearly tax on the properties.
    Also. Give vacant property owners a year to put them up for sale or rent , then tax them 50% of the value of the property.
    Remember, almost 9% of all property in Canada are vacant. Most of these would be owned by money launderers or non residents.

  • Ron Bruce 7 months ago

    The Provincial Ministries in every Province have failed to rein in investors of multiple homes. The allusion that the Government wants to spend more money on housing will benefit the investors and exclude the majority of residents just looking for a place to live (i.e. 50% of residents in Cities are renters).

    “Corporations and institutions are excluded from this share of ownership numbers and are common arrangements for professional landlords” Real Estate seems like the ideal place to hide illicit money, escape paying taxes and prey on renters. These financial dead pools of cash never go-to developing new technologies or innovation, creating real jobs. Unaffordable housing for the masses is now the new economic reality. 

  • Stan 7 months ago

    It’s much more convenient to blame everything on foreigners, the financialization of real estate by domestic investors is an under-discussed issue in Canada. By that I include not just institutional buyers, but individuals who have come to believe that real estate is an investment vehicle rather than a place to live. While Canada doesn’t have the problem of CDOs that was at the root of the 2008 crash, 1/6 is a huge number and likely a major vulnerability as rates go up, as they did today.

  • Rand Passmore 7 months ago

    There is a big residential real estate bubble and it will burst. Some investors will lose money and some may face bankruptcy. That is business reality and there should be no government bailouts. Let the market work properly.

  • Doug Forkes 7 months ago

    “Douglas Porter explained Canada is promoting an incorrect supply narrative.”

    So Mr. Porter is right, and 38 million are wrong?

    House prices are high because houses are sold to the highest bidder. If they were sold to the lowest bidder, they’d be low.

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