805K homes in Canada don’t have enough space for the people who live in them: data – National

With a family of seven in a three-bedroom townhouse and a fitness business she runs from home, Vanessa van Tol is a pro at maximizing space.

The Delta, BC personal trainer behind Lunges and Lipstick uses her garage for workouts, bought bunk beds and trundle beds so her three boys can share one bedroom and two daughters another, and tends to buy smaller toys and promote outdoor activities and travel.

“Our attitude is that we are the family of the adventurers,” she said.

“We’re probably not going to get a huge house, so instead of being crazy and so tight with our budget, saving every penny we need to get a bigger house, we’re choosing to use that money to make a living.” experience and enjoy it.”


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That dedication to getting the most out of your space has long been common in Canada, but is becoming increasingly important as the housing market has been so frenzied over the past decade.

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While even hot regions like Vancouver and Toronto have cooled down in recent months, home ownership remains out of reach for many trying to set aside money to buy amid 30 years of high inflation and rising rent costs.

Some have mirrored Van Tol by maximizing and dividing space. It’s also not uncommon for multiple families to live in one house or for students and other tenants to sign leases for living rooms turned into bedrooms.

These situations contribute to 805,650 homes in the country being deemed “unsuitable” for the number of people living there, according to the latest installment of census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

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The federal data agency considers homes “unsuitable” when three or more people occupy one bedroom.

It found that more than 630,800 homes were short of one bedroom by 2021 based on the number of residents, while about 129,200 are two bedrooms short and 45,500 are three or more bedrooms short.

StatCan also calculated that nearly 1.5 million Canadian households were living in a “core housing need” in 2021, which it defined as living in an “unsuitable, inadequate or unaffordable” housing and unable to afford alternative housing in the same community.

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However, core housing needs fell from 12.7 percent in 2016 to 10.1 percent in 2021, largely driven by rising household incomes and housing affordability.

In most of the country, tenants were more likely to have core housing needs than owners. The gap was widest in Montreal, and renters in Toronto and Vancouver were more than twice as likely to live in key housing needs than homeowners in those cities.

At the heart of crowding is a growing population, unaffordable housing and a lack of supply, said Murtaza Haider, a professor of data science and real estate management at Toronto Metropolitan University.


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“Our population has been increasing continuously over the past four or five decades, but our rate of construction, the number of new homes being built per million people, has dropped significantly, almost half in the early ’90s,” he said.

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“The construction of purpose-built rental housing had almost fallen to zero in the mid-1990s. You’re seeing a slight revival now, but nowhere is it at the same pace (as before).”

To meet the country’s housing needs, a June report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation found that the country needs 3.5 million more homes than planned by 2030.

And the ones that are built may not have the price tag you want. The Canadian Real Estate Association found that the national average home price in August was $637,673, but over $1 million in Toronto and Vancouver.

It predicted that the national average price will rise 4.7 percent to $720,255 by the end of the year and rise another 0.2 percent to $721,814 in 2023.

Prizes like this drove Dave Campanella and Cate Ahrens to turn to family for house hunting. Rather than jump into bidding wars and push them above their desired price point, three years ago they bought half of Ahrens’ sister’s three-story house and turned it into a duplex.

Now they live on the ground floor and in the basement with their two children and Ahrens’ sister and her partner have the upper floor and the attic.

“Would it be nice to have our own house next door? That’s probably ideal,’ said Campanella.

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“I don’t want to fool myself. It’s only half a house, but with Toronto’s insane home prices, it’s the best we could have hoped for.”

For the country’s lowest-paid workers, even owning half a house is out of reach because wages don’t keep up with inflation, Haider added.

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“Very low-income workers crowd into apartments, where the same bed is used by someone to sleep at night because they work during the day, and the night shift guys who work at night come in and sleep during the day,” he says. said.

Yet they are also the least likely to be represented in census data.

People living in precarious conditions often don’t respond to census requests because a landlord rents out a home to one person, but in reality, four or five people share that space, Haider said.

Those not on the lease often don’t complete a count at all, and the primary tenant won’t reveal the true nature of their whereabouts to avoid getting caught.

“These are real challenges,” Haider said.

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“There is an undercount in the count of the most vulnerable, but how extensive it is is hard to say.”


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