The Cana­dian dream of own­ing a home is still alive in Cal­gary


A new re­port finds the Cana­dian dream of home own­er­ship is wan­ing in ma­jor met­ro­pol­i­tan areas across the na­tion, ex­cept for one place: Cal­gary.

Mus­tel Group and Sotheby ’s In­ter­na­tional Realty Canada’s 2018 Mod­ern Fam­ily Home Own­er­ship Trends Re­port: The Evo­lu­tion of the Cana­dian Dream found while most young fam­i­lies want to own a sin­gle-fam­ily de­tached home, few can ac­tu­ally af­ford it.

But Cal­gary is buck­ing that trend, says Brad Hen­der­son, pres­i­dent and CEO of Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty Canada.

“Vary­ing amounts of peo­ple across the coun­try had ac­tu­ally given up on the ‘Cana­dian Dream,’ ” he says. “Yet we found peo­ple in Cal­gary had aban­doned that dream less than peo­ple in Van­cou­ver, and that’s be­cause homes in Cal­gary are much more af­ford­able.”

Sotheby’s launched the study to dis­cern whether mil­len­ni­als and younger gen­er­a­tion Xers were mov­ing away from sin­gle, de­tached homes by choice.

“A lot of peo­ple char­ac­ter­ize this group as be­ing part of the shar­ing econ­omy and that they don’t as­cribe to those typ­i­cal val­ues of own­ing a home and be­ing a slave to a mort­gage,” he says.

“So that prompted us to do the sur­vey to fig­ure out if that is in fact true, or whether it was more a func­tion of ne­ces­sity.”

It turned out to be the lat­ter for the most part. Among those sur­veyed, 83 per cent of young fam­i­lies in Canada pre­ferred a sin­gle fam­ily home.

“That was a bit sur­pris­ing to us, but what wasn’t was that cost is a defin­ing fac­tor.”

In other words, many fam­i­lies wanted this kind of home, but they couldn’t af­ford it, he adds.

Of those in­di­cat­ing a sin­gle fam­ily home was de­sir­able, about 56 per cent ac­tu­ally bought one while 43 per cent who cur­rently own real es­tate — but not a de­tached home — had given up on that dream.

The sur­vey of 1,743 fam­i­lies in the Van­cou­ver, Cal­gary, Toronto and Mon­treal mar­kets found Van­cou­ver had the high­est per­cent­age in­di­cat­ing they have given up at 55 per cent.

In Toronto, the num­ber fell to 42 per cent while the fig­ure for Mon­treal was 39 per cent.

In Cal­gary, not only was the pref­er­ence for de­tached home own­er­ship higher than in the other ci­ties at 91 per cent, only 37 per cent of those sur­veyed stated they had given up on own­ing a sin­gle de­tached home. What’s more 74 per cent noted they had al­ready achieved this goal — again the best fig­ure among the ci­ties in the sur­vey.

“The flip side of that, though, is peo­ple in Cal­gary are less op­ti­mistic that real es­tate will per­form as well or bet­ter than their fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments,” Hen­der­son says.

Among ci­ties, 64 per cent of Cal­gary re­spon­dents thought their homes would per­form as well or bet­ter than their fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments, com­pared with 83 per cent in Toronto, 77 per cent in Mon­treal, and 79 per cent in Van­cou­ver. While most be­lieve their in­vest­ment in real es­tate will do well, one in five Cal­gary fam­i­lies in­di­cated they be­lieved real es­tate would un­der­per­form other as­sets.


A re­cent sur­vey from Mus­tel Group and Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty found that 83 per cent of young fam­i­lies in Canada pre­fer the idea of liv­ing in a sin­gle fam­ily home.

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