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July 2004
Vol. 5, no. 7

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Housing costs of elderly families
Raj Chawla and Ted Wannell

  • In 1999, homeowning families whose major income recipient was 65 or over had lived in their home for an average of 25 years, and 90% had completely paid off their mortgage.
  • Because of long tenure, appreciation accounted for 60% of the equity of senior homeowners compared with 46% for homeowners with a major income recipient between 45 and 64 and 29% for those under 45. As a result, the average senior homeowner was paying about $1,000 per year in property taxes on appreciation alone.
  • Senior homeowners had accumulated more than three times the wealth of senior renters (double if home equity is excluded). As well, senior homeowners had nearly twice the income of their renting counterparts ($41,000 compared with $23,000).
  • Senior renters with low incomes paid 43% of their income to the landlord. Senior homeowners with low incomes who were mortgage-free paid an average of 12% of their income for property taxes; those who still carried a mortgage paid an average of 56% in mortgage payments and property taxes.

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Raj Chawla and Ted Wannell are with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. Raj Chawla can be reached at (613) 951-6901, Ted Wannell at (613) 951-3546 or both at

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