Canada’s home for housing insight

January 27, 2020

The place we call home, whether it be a small high-rise apartment or a new build on the edge of town, is one of the defining features of our lives. And yet, finding housing in Canada that is affordable can be a challenge, particularly in our largest cities.

The housing landscape in Canada has changed markedly over the past decade. There has been a shift in housing stock, with the construction of multi-unit properties growing at a much faster pace than that of single-family homes. Housing prices across the country have fluctuated in tandem with a variety of factors such as the price of oil or the advent of the sharing economy.

Shelter continues to be Canadians' largest budget item. While housing and the cost of living varies by province or territory, region, city and neighbourhood, Canadians spend the largest portion of their budgets on shelter. Housing is so important to each and every one of us—nearly 68% of Canadian households own their home.

While the cost of housing may have increased in recent years, yet Canadians are still entering the real estate market in large numbers. From 2013 to 2018, 1.3 million, or 9.0%, of Canadian households bought their first home. More than half of them (52.9%) bought a single-detached house. However, this rate was lower in Montréal (38.1%), Toronto (26.4%) and Vancouver (21.4%).

As the market steadily increases in value, the need for quality data on housing is more important than ever. That's why Canada's national statistical office is telling the country's housing story in numbers, through an exciting series of new tools, programs, methods and partnerships.

Front door for housing data

As the nation's trusted source for statistical information, Statistics Canada is responding to the growing demand for one integrated, comprehensive source of information on housing, an integral part of Canada's First National Housing Strategy. Housing is a broad topic that is interrelated with many other subject areas, such as prices, demography, health and wellness, labour force and the economy. The agency launched a Housing Statistics Portal in August 2019, allowing users to easily access data and products related to housing in one convenient location.

The portal, which is continually updated as new information becomes available, was made possible through the agency's well-established housing programs and the development of two new statistical programs: The Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) and the Canadian Housing Survey (CHS).

"Statistics Canada is a key partner in our work to better understand Canada's housing markets and what drives them. The data offered by the Canadian Housing Statistics Program and the Canadian Housing Survey is essential as we continue to roll out the National Housing Strategy and work towards achieving our vision that, by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home that meets their needs and that they can afford." – Bob Dugan, Chief Economist, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Launched in 2017, the Canadian Housing Statistics Program provides comprehensive information on residential properties and their owners through administrative data from private and public data sources, reducing the response burden on Canadians. This information is used by policy makers, academics, businesses and individuals with an interest in the real estate market.

With its first release on National Housing Day in November 2019, the Canadian Housing Survey (CHS) is sponsored by our partners at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Data from the Canadian Housing Survey measures whether or not Canadians have housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. The survey runs every two years until 2028 in every province and territory, collecting new information on dwelling and neighbourhood satisfaction, first-time homebuyers and housing affordability, and households living in social and affordable housing.

In its first release, the Canadian Housing Survey found that most Canadian households are satisfied with their neighbourhood and dwelling. Over half a million Canadian households are living in social and affordable housing.

Suite of housing programs

Together with the Residential Property Price Indexes and a suite of interactive visualization tools, these programs paint an accurate portrait of housing in Canada through a combination of survey questionnaires, administrative data sources from provincial and territorial governments and private businesses, as well as the successful integration of data from the census and business registers.

As the housing market continues to evolve, Statistics Canada is working to build the most comprehensive database of information on housing in Canada. Under its ongoing modernization initiative, the agency will keep improving the comprehensiveness and accessibility of housing data. This will ensure that Canadians have the information they need to feel at home.

Greg Peterson
Assistant Chief Statistician
Economic Statistics Field
Statistics Canada

Login/register to post comments.

Please note that comments are moderated. It may take some time for your comments to appear online. For more information, consult our rules of engagement.