A new survey released Nov. 10 by Habitat for Humanity Canada finds Canadians rank affordable housing as the third most important issue facing Canada today, behind inflation and health care.
The Habitat for Humanity Canada Affordable Housing Survey, which measured the perceptions of Canadians, also sheds light on growing concerns and barriers to homeownership including lack of housing supply, increased cost of living, discrimination, NIMBY (not in my backyard) sentiment and more.
“This survey underscores how deeply concerned Canadians are about their housing situations and futures as affordable housing becomes increasingly out of reach,” said Julia Deans, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “To address these growing concerns and make affordable housing and homeownership a reality for all Canadians, we need an all-in approach from non-profits, corporate partners, individuals and all levels of government.”
According to the Habitat Canada Affordable Housing Survey, almost all Canadians (96 per cent) surveyed said their cost of living has increased this past year and four-in-five Canadians (78 per cent) are worried about having to spend less on food, savings, transportation costs, and/or debt payments to continue to afford their current housing. Other key concerns include:
• Forty per cent of Canadians are concerned about paying their mortgage or rent over the next 12 months
• Gen Zs (51 per cent) and millennials (52 per cent) are more than twice as likely to be concerned about paying their rent or mortgage than boomers (23 per cent)
• Almost three in 10 Canadians (28 per cent) cannot currently afford a down payment of any amount toward a home
Lack of housing supply seen as greatest contributor to current affordability crisis
Ninety per cent of Canadians (90 per cent) believe that there is a shortage of affordable housing in Canada and 43 per cent see lack of housing supply as one of the greatest contributors to making housing less affordable, ahead of foreign buyers (40 per cent), and investment firms buying homes (36 per cent).
NIMBY and discrimination: additional barriers to affordable housing
Half of Canadians (54 per cent) feel that NIMBY sentiment is one of the main barriers to making affordable housing available in neighborhoods. Furthermore, 71 per cent of Canadians agree with the statement that “people worry about the impact of affordable housing on their property values and neighborhood.”
Discrimination was also found to be a barrier to accessing affordable housing according to the survey. One in 10 Canadians (11 per cent) have experienced racism, sexism, and/or other discrimination during their pursuit of housing, with BIPOC Canadians being more than twice as likely as non-BIPOC Canadians to have experienced discrimination (18 per cent vs. eight per cent).
Canadians want an affordable place to call home
Three-quarters of Canadians and 82 per cent of British Columbians believe that more affordable housing could solve the social issues we’re currently facing as a country. Despite the growing concerns and barriers to homeownership, the majority of Canadians (87 per cent) agree that owning a home can create more stability in one’s life. Furthermore, 82 per cent of British Columbians surveyed agree that owning a home can lead to a better future for their children, and 80 per cent agree that homeownership can strengthen ties to their community.
For more information on the survey, visit habitat.ca/housingsurvey.