The Value of Homeownership

Homeownership is a deeply ingrained value for Canadians.

More than two-thirds of Canadians own their home (68.4% according to Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census). In a recent survey by Harris/Decima (early 2010), 33% of renters indicated that they are looking to purchase a home in the next two to three years.

For most people, homeownership is the foundation for long-term financial stability and security. Surveys by Statistics Canada show that the single most important asset for Canadians is their principal residence. Research also indicates that, all else being equal, homeowners are better off financially and have a higher net worth than those who don’t own.

Mortgage “freedom” is often celebrated as a major milestone—the time when people own their home free and clear, and their housing expenses drop significantly.

The majority of buyers finance their purchase with a mortgage loan—54% of homeowners hold a mortgage on their home (Statistics Canada, 2008). As the loan is being paid off, the equity in the home increases, creating a solid asset. While housing prices may fluctuate in the short term, they typically rise at or above the rate of inflation in the long term, according to Altus Group.

But the value of homeownership goes far beyond the financial benefits. Along with a home purchase comes a feeling of personal pride. First-time homeowners have a great sense of accomplishment—“I made it”. For younger buyers, a home purchase often follows personal events—getting married, having children, getting the job they aspired to. It marks a significant milestone in their life. Similarly, personal events later in life—a return to the empty nest, improvement in financial circumstances, retirement—are often accompanied by new housing choices.

At all stages of life, our homes reflect our lifestyle and who we are. And at all ages, people enjoy the security and autonomy of homeownership, and the sense of belonging in their community.

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