Many Canadians giving up on the dream of single-family homeownership Image

Many Canadians giving up on the dream of single-family homeownership

By Newinhomes on Nov 01, 2018

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada just released its 2018 Modern Family Home Ownership Trends, a joint report with Mustel Group. Part 1 of this multi-part study is called The Evolution of the Canadian Dream, and highlights the growing gap between homeownership dreams and realities.

More than 50% of the Canadian homeowners surveyed for the report were millennials, and the remaining were younger members of Generation X. Overall, 83% of young, urban homeowners said they would prefer to own and live in a detached home if budget wasn’t a consideration. Only 5% prefered a condo.

“Young families are much more influential in Canada’s metropolitan real estate markets than many realize,” says Brad Henderson, President and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “With 9.1 million Canadian millennials now entering the partnership, marriage and parenting stages of the family life cycle, the ranks of these ‘modern families’ are swelling.”

“Our research dispels several urban myths about the housing preferences of this group,” he adds. “It suggests that the wave of demand for single-family homeownership will continue to rise in spite of mounting affordability challenges. Moreover, it highlights the fact that cities will continue to face significant pressure to overcome these challenges with solutions that go beyond the addition of higher density housing.”

While the majority dream of detached living, only 56% made that dream come true, and 43% who already own real estate, but not a single-family home, have given up the dream of single-family ownership due to high costs.

That said, 93% of owners are either “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current home. With the average single-family home coming in around $1.5 million in the Greater Toronto Area, increasing interest rates, and the mortgage stress test, most people are probably just happy to be able to afford to buy anything at all.


In Toronto, 44% of owners spent less than $500,000 on their current home, and only 12% paid more than $1 million. Sotheby’s found that 82% of Toronto residents surveyed would prefer to buy a single-family home if budget was not a concern. Reality is that ownership is split in half with 50% owning single-family homes and 50% owning high-density homes.

Among Toronto residents who have not purchased a single-family home, 42% have given up on the dream. The preference for condo living is at 19%, which is pretty high compared to the country as a whole (5%).

When it comes to buying a home, the highest priority is value per square foot, ahead of design, layout, or other home features. Those in Toronto prioritize value per square foot more than those in Calgary and Vancouver.

Some families in Toronto may not be living in their ideal homes, but 95% are very or somewhat satisfied with their current home. There are a few compromises that Toronto families are making when they buy their home; 20% need renovations, 19% went over their budget, and 19% sacrificed on their desired square footage.   

With regards to satisfaction, there are differences between affluent and non-affluent households. Only 58% of affluent families in Toronto are very satisfied with their current property, and 41% of non-affluent families feel the same way. There are more affluent families that are satisfied, but not by much. Looks like money doesn’t buy happiness.  

While Toronto may be among the most expensive markets, Sotheby’s says that confidence in Toronto real estate is higher than in any other major market in the country.

This homeowners trends survey was very interesting, so we can’t wait for the next Part to be released! 

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