Housing Affordability and the Canadian Suburb

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tristan Wilkin

Housing affordability is an issue that impacts many Canadian households and which has gained prominence in recent decades for its increasing presence across Canadian regions. According to the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD), in 2007 more than 2,700,000 Canadian households experienced a state of housing affordability stress, as defined by incurred shelter expenses that exceed 30% of the household’s income (CMHC, 2011). In a national study, Moore and Skaburskis (2004) concluded that the problem of housing affordability in Canada has been growing over the past twenty years. Their empirical analysis of the Survey of Financial Expenditures (FAMEX) and the Survey of Household Spending (SHS) showed that the number of Canadian households spending over 50% of their income on housing expenditures “increased by 59% from 560,000 to 891,000 between 1992 and 1999” (p. 399). The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) also reported an increase of 4.6% in households experiencing core housing need (which takes into account housing affordability as well as suitability and adequacy) between 1991 and 1996 (CMHC, 2011).

This student working paper was written by Tristan Wilkin as part of coursework in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo. The author acknowledges Markus Moos, Pablo Mendez and Michael Seasons for helpful comments on earlier versions. The author remains solely responsible for any errors, omissions or opinions.

View the rest of Wilkin’s working paper: Housing Affordability and the Canadian Suburb (.pdf)