StatsCAN Plus

National Housing Day: A look at homeowners and renters

November 22, 2022, 10:00 a.m. (EST)

A home is more than simply a roof over your head; it can also be a source of security, dignity and identity. Canada’s residential housing accounts for over one-fifth of our national wealth.

Two-thirds of Canadian households owned their own home in 2021, down from a peak of 69% in 2011, while one-third rented.

While the share of renters in Canada is rising, the gulf in net worth between homeowners and renters continues to grow.

Canada’s net stock of residential housing accounts for over one-fifth of our national wealth

Over one-fifth of Canada’s total national wealth (22.9%) in 2021 was attributable to the residential housing market. The value of Canada's net stock of residential housing rose 18.9% in 2021 to $3.4 trillion. Social housing accounted for $44.6 billion, or 1.3%, of Canada’s total residential stock.

Over 1.3 million jobs and $141.3 billion in gross domestic product were attributable to the residential housing sector in 2021.

The net worth of homeowners has more than doubled since the millennium

For the 10 million Canadian households who own their home, their home is also an investment and often their largest monetary asset. The average value of an owner-occupied home rose by 40% from 2016 to $618,500 in 2021. The growth in housing prices over this period was over double that of median household after-tax income (18%), not adjusting for inflation.

The rising home prices seen in parts of the country can lead to wealth gains for homeowners. According to the Survey of Financial Security, the net worth of homeowners of all ages rose from $323,700 in 1999 to $685,400 in 2019. In comparison, the net worth of renters of all ages rose from $14,600 to $24,000 over this period.

This gulf in net worth is reflected in the housing market. A recent report by the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) on property markets in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick found that multiple-property owners control nearly one-third of all residential properties. The top 10% of wealthiest owners accounted for around one-quarter of residential housing value in these four provinces.

Despite these inequalities, new data show an increase in first-time home buyers from 2018 to 2019.

The number of renter households grows at over twice the pace of owner households

The decline in homeownership rates from 2011 to 2021 was attributable to renter households (+21.5%) growing at over twice the pace of owner households (+8.4%). In 2021, there were 5.0 million renter households, or a rental rate of 33.1%.

The growth in the rental rate reflects the increased construction of multi-unit buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. Before 2011, apartments accounted for less than 40% of building permits. Since 2011, multi-unit building permits have accounted for 68.1% of units created, and 73.2% in 2021 alone. These construction and real estate trends address the greater demand for these types of dwellings, fuelled by population growth through immigration, an aging population and a gravitation towards the downtown lifestyle—particularly among younger Canadians.

Condos are a gateway to homeownership as well as an investment property for individual Canadian investors

Condominiums are typically less expensive than houses and offer owners an opportunity to invest in the real estate market with an asset that generates both rental income and wealth.

Condominiums are a gateway to homeownership and housing investment for many Canadians. According to the CHSP, over one-third (37.8%) of first-time home buyers in British Columbia and just under one in six in Ontario (16.5%) bought a condominium in 2020

Condominium apartments were the largest contributor to housing stock growth in British Columbia (54.4% of net new properties) and Ontario (38.8%) in 2020, especially in Vancouver (75.0%) and Toronto (59.0%).

While newly built dwellings are increasingly not owner-occupied, new condominiums contributed to the rental and the owner-occupied stock.

Over one-third of the condos in Canada (37.4%, or 840,045 units) were rented in 2021, up 4.5 percentage points from 2016.

Condominiums that are not occupied by the owner are most often owned by individuals (as opposed to corporations or other entities). Over three-quarters (77.1%) of the condos in British Columbia and over two-thirds (69.1%) of those in Ontario that were not being lived in by the homeowner were owned by individuals residents of Canada. These properties may be rented out, vacant or used as a secondary residence.

To learn more about housing in Canada, check out the Canadian Housing Statistics Program releases in the Daily as well as the 2021 Census release “To buy or to rent: The housing market continues to be reshaped by several factors as Canadians search for an affordable place to call home.

Contact information

For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300; or Media Relations (