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The impacts of housing affordability on the household formation and homeownership of immigrant groups in Canada

Abstract

Rising housing costs pose challenges for Canadians trying to form independent households, particularly for those that wish to own their home rather than rent it. This is especially true for immigrants, who have had lower homeownership rates than the Canadian-born since the 1980s. This paper investigates the impacts of housing affordability and the three elements of the housing pathways framework—economic resources, family composition, and cultural variations—on household formation and homeownership differences between five racialized immigrant groups and the Canadian-born. Using Public Use Census data and a “difference in difference” analytical approach, we assess the housing progress of six groups (five foreign-born, one native-born) between 2006 and 2016. We find that housing affordability does not hinder immigrants in forming independent households, suggesting that many immigrants may be willing to earmark a greater share of their incomes to live independently in either rented or owned accommodations. Furthermore, we show that, even after controlling for a range of socioeconomic factors related to housing pathways, residential choices remain largely unexplained, both within and across groups.

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Data are available through the Data Liberation Initiative of Statistics Canada.

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Cheng, W., Haan, M. The impacts of housing affordability on the household formation and homeownership of immigrant groups in Canada. J Hous and the Built Environ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-022-09943-3

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Keywords

  • Housing affordability
  • Immigrants
  • Household formation
  • Homeownership