Baby Boomers – How Do They Fare In the Housing Market?

townhouses in Toronto
Cabbagetown houses photo by Jay Woodward is licensed under CC BY 2.0
CMHC report confirms that seniors in the Toronto area are staying put, for now.

A recent edition of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Housing Market Insight looks at housing trends among baby boomers in the Greater Toronto area.

Baby boomers are transitioning solidly to the “seniors” age group and we’ve reported on senior homeowners living with fixed incomes. Some find themselves trapped in their homes, wanting to move as the cost of living rises compared to incomes, but having limited choices.1 The CMHC report, which looks at the Toronto area, offers a somewhat different picture.

CMHC draws a wider perspective, including changes for all owner and renter households between 2006 and 2016. It looks at demographics, employment, income, and wealth. During the period, the number of seniors, the rate of employment, household incomes and net personal wealth have gone up.

The author points to differences between homeowners and renters, noting that the gap between owner and renter incomes widened during the period. The median renter income was less than half of the median owner income in both study years. Accounting for changes in the cost of living, the median owner income was 7.5% higher in 2016 than in 2006, while median renter income was virtually unchanged (0.6%).

The report also compares owners and renters who are in Core Housing Need.2  During both periods, over 50% of the renters were in Core Housing Need, compared to 14% of owners.

Far from wanting to move, the CMHC report provides evidence that senior homeowners, generally speaking, do not appear to be trapped by limited incomes and are staying longer in their homes because they choose to.

Why is this report important outside Toronto?

This report examines differences between senior owners and renters. In the Toronto area, owners currently would seem to have more financial resources than renters to adapt to the life changes that may come their way. When aware of these nuances in their own markets, planners and decision makers can consider how programs and funding can be effectively deployed.

The full report is available at CMHC: Seniors Housing Profile In The Toronto CMA

Footnotes

  1. Try: Aging Empty Nester? Size-Small Family In A Size-Large House? You May Have To Get Used To It! also see in Global News: West Island Community Group Calls For More Affordable Housing For Seniors
  2. CMHC’s Core Housing Need uses four indicators of housing status. The indicators assess the condition of the housing (i.e. does it need repairs), the level of crowding, the level of household income compared to housing costs and the availability of alternative housing in the market area. A household is considered to be in Core Housing Need when it fails at least one of the first three tests and there is a paucity of alternative housing available.

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