Over the next decade, Toronto seniors may not be freeing up the expected number of dwellings — single family homes, condos and townhouses — for younger people to move into and this will limit supply, says a new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The report, entitled Seniors Housing Profile in the Toronto CMA, suggests that while Toronto’s population of people aged 65 and older will grow over the next 10 years, “employment, income, wealth trends” as well as social and community supports for seniors “may further increase the home ownership rate for older residents as they remain in their homes for longer periods of time.”
The numbers, based on data from Statistics Canada from a 2005 to 2016 Survey of Financial Security and the 2006 to 2016 National Household Survey, indicate that the share of Toronto homes owned by seniors who led households jumped 5 percentage points to 25 per cent over a 10-year period, according to the household survey.
In other words, seniors owned a greater share of homes in 2016 than they did in 2006.
According to the StatsCan figures, 249,000 of 1.2 million homeowners in Toronto were 65 and older, but in 2016, that jumped to 355,000 of 1.4 million homeowners in Toronto being 65 or older.
And while most people are carrying household debt, regardless of age, the financial security report found the median household net worth — assets less debt — for seniors rose from $505,700 to $875,000 and the net worth for those under 65 increased from $238,000 to $279,000.
These are among the key findings that led Inna Breidburg, a senior economic analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), to conclude that if trends continue, younger want-to-be homeowners may be shut out in the future.
“The trend of rising home ownership rate(s) among seniors may continue, which will translate into less supply being freed up for younger generations,” Breidburg said in a statement accompanying the report released Thursday.
The report explored whether changes in economic well-being such as employment, income and wealth and demographic characteristics of families headed by seniors can “point to potential changes in the future downsizing patterns and housing choices to be made by older residents in Toronto.”
In Toronto, seniors made up 14 per cent of the city’s 2.8 million people, up from 11 per cent in 2006, the report notes. Ontario’s Finance Ministry says the average annual population growth for seniors will be about 4 per cent, which will bring that group’s share of the population to 18 per cent in 2026, the report says.
The report notes more seniors are working now, and among homeowners there has been a “strong increase in the share of retirees for whom pensions — public and private — are their primary source of income. These trends have translated into faster income growth for seniors.”
The report concludes that with the growth of Toronto’s senior population, the “conventional view” is that since seniors typically downsize or leave home ownership” this will increase the supply of housing for younger prospective buyers.
“However, employment, income, wealth trends along with possible changes to community and social support services available to seniors may further increase the home ownership rate for older residents as they remain in their homes for longer periods of time,” the report says.
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Donovan Vincent is a housing reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @donovanvincent