Costs turning single-family homeownership dreams into nightmares

The single-family home has always been the dream home for Canadians, but a new survey shows costs are eroding the dream for many homeowners.

The Modern Family Home Ownership Trends Report: The Evolution of the Canadian Dream* from Mustel Group and Sotheby’s International Realty shows 83 percent of young urban Canadian families have a preference for a single-family home, but 43 percent of current homeowners in the group have abandoned any hope of owning a single-family home.

The survey included the younger cohort of the baby boomer generation, but focused on the millennial generation, says Josh O’Neill, general manager of Mustel Group.

“This is the first Canadian study to focus on the home-buying preferences and habits of this segment of young families,” says O’Neill.

The survey found that rising housing costs, brought on by increasingly stringent mortgage stress test regulations, rising interest rates and a lack of housing supply in Toronto and Vancouver, have pushed buyers into higher-density housing.

However, the desire for single-family homes will remain strong.

“With 9.1 million Canadian millennials now entering the partnership, marriage and parenting stages of the family life cycle, the ranks of these modern families are swelling,” says Brad Henderson,

president and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “Our research dispels several urban myths about the housing preferences of this group. It suggests that the wave of demand for single-family homeownership will continue to rise in spite of mounting affordability challenges. Moreover, it highlights the fact that cities will continue to face significant pressure to overcome these challenges with solutions that go beyond the addition of higher density housing.”

*The survey was conducted with a total of 1,743 families in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.