'Significant lag' in home ownership rate seen in Quebec

In its latest report, the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) stated that compared to other Canadian provinces, Quebec is experiencing what the study called a “significant lag” in its home ownership rate.

Data from the latest census by Statistics Canada showed that 61.3% of Quebec households owned their homes in 2016, compared to an average of 67.8% in Canada.

“Although the gap has narrowed since 1971, Quebec still remains well below the national average,” according to Paul Cardinal, manager of the QFREB’s market analysis department. “The homeownership rates in the province’s six census metropolitan areas (CMAs) are no exception, particularly those of Montreal and Sherbrooke which, in 2016, had the lowest proportion of homeowners among all CMAs in Canada.”

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This trend was especially apparent among Quebec’s youth. Between 2011 and 2016, the homeownership rate among those under 25 years of age fell by 2.5%. To compare, the rate fell by 2.8% for the 25 to 34 age group, by 2% for the 35 to 44 age group, and by 0.4% for the 45 to 54 age group.

QFREB suggested that household composition could partly explain this lag. Single-person households are more prevalent in Quebec (33%) than everywhere else in Canada (28%).

“Since it is more difficult for a single person to save the down payment required for the purchase of a home than it is for a couple, it is not surprising that Québec's homeownership rate is lower than Canada’s,” Cardinal stated.

The opportunity cost of homeownership – the additional monthly amount that a tenant household can expect to pay to become an owner household – also appears to have an influence on the homeownership rate. In general, the higher the opportunity cost of ownership, the lower the homeownership rate.

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