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Amid Canada’s housing crunch, some move in with other generations

October 11, 2023

Authored by RSM Canada LLP

Edwin P. Reilly, CPA, CA shared this article

REAL ECONOMY BLOG | October 11, 2023

As Canada grapples with an acute shortage of housing, some residents are embracing a shift toward multigenerational residences.

This phenomenon, which includes multiple generations of adults living under one roof, is being driven in no small part by necessity as younger buyers and new arrivals to Canada search for a place to live, only to encounter escalating prices and decreasing inventory.

Mortgage rates are at multidecade highs. Last month, the Bank of Canada held its overnight rate at 5% and warned that future hikes may be necessary to tame persistent inflation.

Canada rent

Although home prices are expected to level off in the months ahead, affordability for prospective homebuyers is not expected to improve because of stricter lending requirements and historically low housing supplies relative to rising housing demand.

In response, some buyers have joined their in-laws, their parents or other family members under the same roof.

Canada housing price index
Source: Statistics Canada

Demand is rising …

Through this squeeze, the sentiment around owning a home in Canada remains high. Close to 80% of respondents to a 2023 Mortgage Professionals Canada survey viewed real estate as a “good long-term investment.”

Indeed, the need is growing. Canada is embracing the arrival of immigrants as it confronts a shortage of labor. Canada aims to welcome from 410,000 to 505,000 new permanent residents this year, from 430,000 to 542,000 next year, and 442,500 to 550,000 in 2025, according to the Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025.

And that’s just the official count. CIBC data published in August suggests there was a 1.5 million undercount of Canada’s 2023 population when nonpermanent residences and not people who overstay their visas are factored in.

Canada immigration
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

… but the supply is limited

The latest Housing Supply Report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation found that construction has been insufficient to meet demand.

Which leads some families to look to their families for answers. The number of households with multiple generations of adults living under one roof has increased 45% in Canada over the past two decades, making it the fastest-growing household trend in Canadian history, according to 2021 census data.

A survey conducted in August by Royal LePage, a national real estate brokerage, found that 56% of people who co-own a house own it jointly with their parents or their in-laws, while 18% co-own with their adult children.

The multigenerational housing trend, the survey found, is fueled by increasing immigration alongside a lack of affordability in the housing market.

Developers have taken notice. Multifamily units that include multigenerational features like extra bedrooms and bathrooms, in-law suites, and safety features are in demand among some buyers. But permitting and zoning remain an issue for some developers if they are to meet the rising demand.

The takeaway

With Canadian housing costs on the rise, a shortage of new construction and the desire for Canadians to still own homes, some Canadians are looking to their parents or their in-laws or other family members.

Michael Whitwell contributed.

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This article was written by Nicole Lechter and originally appeared on 2023-10-11 RSM Canada, and is available online at

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