Homeownership over the Life Course of Canadians: Evidence from Canadian Censuses of Population
Homeownership affects investment, consumption, and savings decisions of households, and plays a major role in post-retirement well-being. This paper examines two questions. First, to what extent do Canadians acquire and retain homeownership at different life-course stages, particularly after retirement? Second, has the age profile of homeownership changed over generations? Using data from eight Canadian censuses of population, conducted between 1971 and 2006, we find a strong regularity in the age profile of homeownership across generations of Canadians. The homeownership rate rises quickly with the age of household maintainers (i.e., the person(s) who pay(s) for shelter costs) in the period before the age of 40, and continues to climb thereafter at a slower pace until reaching the plateau near age 65, when about three quarters of Canadian households own their homes. We find that the homeownership rate changes little from age 65 to 74 but starts declining after age 75. As well, we note that the level at which homeownership plateaus has risen steadily across birth cohorts since the 1970s.
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