First National Financial LP

Residential Mortgage Commentary - What renters think

  • First National Financial LP

A new, informal survey offers some interesting insights into renters and their desire to become homeowners.

The Globe and Mail polled readers of a newsletter written by financial columnist Rob Carrick.  More than 5,200 people responded.  It is not a scientific study but, rather, a snapshot of what is on the minds of renters across the country.

It needs to be noted that the vast majority of the respondents live in either Toronto or Vancouver.  These metropolitan areas account for about a quarter of Canada’s total population.  They are also the two most expensive markets in the country.

Somewhat surprisingly the survey suggests that the largest group of renters, by far, is made up of people between the ages of 30 and 39.  They came in at almost double the next biggest cohort: 40 to 49 year-olds.  Twenty-somethings, who have long been considered the bedrock of the renting population, sit in 3rd spot just ahead of those aged 60 and over.

One thought has it that the younger group may be staying home with mom and dad because the cost of renting has become prohibitive.  Rents have moved up, pretty much, in lock-step with the cost of buying.  About 20% of respondents say they are paying more than half of their income in rent.  That is well above the guideline that rent should not exceed 30% of gross income.

Coincidentally, 22% of respondents say they dislike or hate being renters.  A similar portion say they like or love renting.  More than half say renting has some positives, but they would rather own.  Nearly a third feel they are being negatively “judged” for being renters.

Despite that, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed expect to rent forever because they will never be able to afford to own.  Just 11% say they have made the choice to rent rather than buy.