Stats Canada Survey Finds Many Canadians Spend Too Much On Housing

By: Daniel Rattanamahattana on September 13, 2013

A Stats Canada National Household Survey determined that many Canadians are devoting too much income to household expenses.  The report concluded that young people are most likely to spend above the affordability threshold, particularly if they rent a unit or pay for a mortgage.

The Household Survey used data compiled in 2011, the most up to date year that Stats Canada has demographic data on file.  According to the statistics, nearly half of Canadians aged 24 or under spend over 30 percent of their monthly income paying the mortgage or rent, as well as on property taxes, utilities, and other housing expenditures.

The household affordability threshold determines that an average household should spend approximately $750 per month on household expenditures to remain under the 30 percent benchmark.  However, Stats Canada determined that many households are spending over $1,250 each month to keep a roof over their heads.

Comparative data from 2006 suggests the trend is getting worse across Canada.  Approximately 3 million households spent over 30 percent of their monthly income on household expenditures in 2006, which rose to 3.3 million based on 2011 statistics. 

Dallas Alderson, a spokesperson for Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, reviewed the Stats Canada survey.  Alderson is worried that a growing number of households are struggling to maintain an affordable living.

When you pay too much, you’re not able to buy groceries, you are not able to put your kid in a recreation program and those are really critical, basic things.

The report also determined that on the whole, renters are more likely than homeowners to spend above the affordability threshold.  Approximately 40 percent of renters spend over the affordability threshold compared to an estimated 18 percent of homeowners based on the Stats Canada survey.  However, homeowners who must pay off a mortgage are likely to exceed the affordability threshold by a greater amount than renters.