Statistics Canada releases Canadian Housing Statistics Program data update

Statistics Canada has released new Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) data on the number and characteristics of residential property owners in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia in 2018. Demographic information on individual resident owners was also released, including age, sex, and immigration status.

The CHSP, launched in 2017 by Statistics Canada, provides information on residential property ownership in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the CHSP framework relies exclusively on administrative data collected from private and public data sources. Statistics Canada reports that, “this information is used by Canadians in a number of ways, including by policy makers to design programs that answer economic and societal needs, by academics to drive the creation of new knowledge, and by businesses and individuals with interest in the real estate market.”

In the latest data release from the CHSP, it is revealed that one in seven individual owners of residential property in British Columbia and Ontario is a millennial. In addition, immigrant residential property owners in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia tend to own higher-value properties than owners born in Canada, and less than 1% of owners are non-residents who own more than one property, Statistics Canada updated.

A new indicator on property use is now available via the latest release. This indicator provides information on whether the property is the usual residence of the owner. According to Statistics Canada, when the property is classified as “not owner occupied,” it may be rented out or used as a secondary property by its owners, such as a pied-à-terre or a cottage, or it may be vacant. This topic will be the subject of further analysis in future releases, Statistics Canada reports.

Below is the content of the full Statistics Canada update from 2019-06-11 release from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program:

Ontario has the highest share of resident owners

Overall, the vast majority of residential property owners were individuals and were residents of Canada, accounting for 95.5% of owners in Ontario, 92.7% in British Columbia and 92.1% in Nova Scotia.

Residential property owners in Nova Scotia are more likely to own multiple properties

In both Ontario and in British Columbia, 84.8% of owners of residential property in each province owned a single property in 2018, compared with 78.0% in Nova Scotia.

Owners of residential property in Nova Scotia were about one-third more likely to own a second property than those in Ontario and British Columbia, and about 78% more likely to own a third property. In 2018, 6.8% of residential property owners in Nova Scotia owned three or more properties, compared with 3.8% in Ontario and British Columbia.

Residents own properties with higher median assessment values than non-residents

Non-residents who own multiple properties accounted for 0.9% of all individual owners in Nova Scotia in 2018, 0.4% in British Columbia, and 0.3% in Ontario. The proportion of individual non-resident owners with more than one property was 13.7% in Nova Scotia, 8.8% in Ontario and 8.0% in British Columbia.

At the provincial level, properties owned by individual residents generally have higher median total assessment values than those owned by non-residents. The exception is British Columbia, where non-resident individuals owned single properties with a median total assessment value of $620,000, 3.0% higher than the value of single properties owned by individual residents.

When comparing residents who own multiple properties with their non-resident counterparts, CHSP data show that there are larger differences in the median total assessment values of properties in Nova Scotia and Ontario than in British Columbia. For example, in Nova Scotia, the median total assessment value of properties owned by individual residents who own two properties was 49.7% higher than for their non-resident counterparts, while in Ontario it was 24.9% higher and in British Columbia, 5.9% higher.

Millennials account for a small share of residential property owners

The share of female owners was similar across all three provinces: British Columbia (51.9%), Ontario (51.9%) and Nova Scotia (51.0%).

Share of individual resident residential property owners by birth year (Source: Statistics Canada)

When looking at owners by birth year, the largest share of owners in British Columbia and Nova Scotia was born from 1950 to 1959, while in Ontario those born from 1960 to 1969 accounted for the largest share.

Millennial owners, defined for the purpose of this release as those born from 1980 to 1999, accounted for approximately 1 in 8 residential property owners in Nova Scotia and 1 in 7 in Ontario and British Columbia. Millennial women owned properties with median total assessment values that were slightly higher than that of properties owned by millennial men.

Immigrants own properties with higher median total assessment values

In Ontario, 23.3% of individual resident property owners were immigrants in 2018, compared with 23.1% in British Columbia, and 3.8% in Nova Scotia. This supplements previously released Canadian Housing Statistics Program data about immigrant residential property owners in Toronto and Vancouver, which found that immigrants owned 43.1% of residential properties in Toronto and 37.2% in Vancouver.

Median total assessment value of properties owned by millennials by birth year, sex and province (Source: Statistics Canada)

For all three provinces, recent immigrants (those arriving from 2009 to 2016) make up a small share of immigrant owners, while those who arrived from 1980 to 2008 accounted for the majority of immigrant owners in Ontario (85.4%), British Columbia (83.3%) and Nova Scotia (72.9%) in 2018.

Immigrant residential property owners in Nova Scotia were more likely to own multiple properties, with 13.0% owning two properties, and 5.6% owning three or more. In Ontario, 11.5% of immigrant owners had two properties, while 3.8% owned three or more. In British Columbia, the corresponding rates were 11.9% and 3.7%.

In all three provinces, immigrant-owned properties had higher median total assessment values than properties owned by non-immigrants. In most cases, recent immigrants owned lower-valued properties than those who arrived in Canada from 1980 to 2008. The exceptions were recent immigrants who owned multiple properties in Ontario and British Columbia, and recent immigrants who owned one property in Nova Scotia.

In all three provinces, immigrant owners were more likely to have been admitted to Canada through economic entry categories. Immigrants admitted through the Federal Skilled Worker program accounted for over one-third of all immigrant owners.

Most non-individual owners are corporations

Non-individual entities, such as firms and governments, accounted for less than 2% of all owners of residential property in all three provinces in 2018. Previously released data showed that non-individuals owned 9.8% of residential properties in British Columbia, 7.9% in Nova Scotia, and 7.4% in Ontario. This means that non-individuals own proportionally more residential properties than individual owners, as over three-quarters of individual owners own a single property.

Corporations accounted for over three-quarters of non-individual owners in Nova Scotia, compared with 9 in 10 in Ontario and in British Columbia. Although governments tend to own properties with higher median total assessment values, they accounted for a small share of non-individual owners, amounting to less than 2% in all three provinces. Across all legal types, British Columbia’s non-individual owners had properties with the highest median total assessment values.

Trusts are included in the “other and multiple” legal type category and accounted for 3.0% or less of non-individual owners in Nova Scotia, and less than 1% in British Columbia and Ontario.

Owner-occupancy rate for single-detached houses within and outside census metropolitan areas (CMAs), 2018 (Source: Statistics Canada)

Ontario has the largest share of owner-occupied properties

In Ontario, 77.5% of residential properties were owner-occupied in 2018, compared with 71.1% in British Columbia and 64.9% in Nova Scotia. The higher share in Ontario was due to comparatively higher rates of owner-occupied properties among single-detached and semi-detached houses.

However, all three provinces have relatively lower rates of owner-occupied condominium apartments: 58.7% in British Columbia and 57.3% in Nova Scotia and in Ontario. This suggests that condominium apartments are more likely to be either vacant, rented out or used as a second property.

By contrast, single-detached homes were more likely to be owner-occupied than condominium apartments, with rates of 82.7% in Ontario, 77.2% in British Columbia and 68.4% in Nova Scotia.

Properties with the lowest owner occupancy rates are outside census metropolitan areas

The share of owner-occupied properties was higher in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) than outside of these areas in 2018, particularly for single-detached houses. For example, in the CMA of Toronto, 91.0% of single-detached houses were owner-occupied. The lower rates in rural areas may be attributable to the fact that single-detached houses were more likely to be secondary homes, cottages or recreational properties.

Share of owner-occupied residential properties for selected property types (Source: Statistics Canada)

In the Vancouver CMA, 85.3% of the single-detached houses and 62.6% of the condominium apartments were owner-occupied. However, these rates varied by census subdivision (CSD) within the CMA.

In Metro Vancouver A, around half the condominium apartments (50.8%) and single-detached houses (52.8%) were owner-occupied.

In the City of Vancouver, over half (54.3%) of the condominium apartments were owner-occupied, compared with 81.0% of single-detached houses.

In West Vancouver, over three-quarters of condominium apartments (77.1%) and single-detached houses (77.2%) were owner-occupied.

Among all CMAs, London had the lowest rate of owner-occupied condominium apartments, at 12.7%. Most (78.1%) of the condominium stock in London was owned by non-individual owners such as corporations.

Owner-occupied properties have higher median assessment values

Owner-occupied properties are worth more than those that are not owner-occupied. The difference in median assessment values is smallest for condominium apartments, at 10% or less in all three provinces.

Median total assessment value of residential properties owned by non-individuals by selected legal type, by province (Source: Statistics Canada)

However, the difference in median assessment value between single-detached homes that are owner-occupied and not owner-occupied is wider, at 70.0% in Nova Scotia, 64.0% in British Columbia, and 50.6% in Ontario. This difference may be attributable to the fact that many secondary properties such as cottages are more likely to be located outside of the CMAs where the assessment values for single-detached houses are lower.

Non-owner-occupied properties have higher assessment values for condominium apartments in four CMAs: Vancouver, Kelowna, Toronto and Guelph. Among condominium apartments that are not owner-occupied, those owned by non-residents have higher median assessment values than those owned by residents in each CMA in all three provinces, with the exception of Guelph.

Within the Toronto CMA, non-owner-occupied condominium apartments have higher median assessment values in three CSDs. This is most notably the case in the Toronto CSD, where 37.9% of condominium apartments are not owner-occupied. These condominium apartments have a median assessment value that is 4.7% higher than the $360,000 median assessment value of owner-occupied condominium apartments.

Vancouver is the sole CMA where non-owner-occupied single-detached houses have a higher median assessment value than owner-occupied houses. This was the case in about half of the CSDs in that CMA.

For single-detached houses that are not owner-occupied, those owned by non-residents had higher median assessment values than those owned by residents in every CMA in all three provinces, excluding Greater Sudbury.

Note to Readers

In this release, people who own multiple residential properties are those whose name is on the property title of more than one residential property within a given province. For the purposes of this release, people who owned one property in a given province and second property in another province were not included among multiple property owners at this time. After the Canadian Housing Statistics Program has integrated information from all provinces and territories, this concept will be updated to take into account people who own properties in more than one province.

Demographic analysis of individual resident owners, including birth year and sex, consider the population where demographic information are known and excludes unspecified values when calculating shares so that total shares equal 100%.

Immigration status is based on administrative data covering landings from 1980 to 2016.


Property use refers to the use of a residential property by its owners. The property can be occupied by the owner, at least one of the owners or none of the owners on the property title.

Property owner refers to an individual or non-individual (such as a corporation, trust, state-owned entity or related groups) that has property title transferred to, recorded in, registered in or otherwise carried in their name. A property may have more than one owner or an owner may have more than one property, thus the count of owners and properties can differ. Demographics (age, sex, residency status) are reported at the owner-level.

Table 1
Number of owners and median total assessment value for properties owned by individual resident and non-resident owners, by number of properties owned and selected province 

Source: Statistics Canada

Table 2
Media total assessment value, by immigration status, number of properties owned, and selected provinces

Source: Statistics Canada

Table 3 
Top three countries of birth for immigrant residential property owners, by number of immigrant owners and selected provinces 

Source: Statistics Canada
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