real estate ontario canada

Dwindling Ontario housing stock is being hoarded by people with multiple properties

Real estate in Ontario has become a pretty wild game, with only the most wealthy among us able to afford a home of any type not just in major cities like Toronto, but in remote towns and overall very "meh" suburbs as well.

The reason that a home in the GTA will now run you an average of $1.3 million and a tiny, aging bungalow in the "armpit of Ontario" costs nearly a mill is thanks to the province's low housing supply, as we have less stock for our residents than anywhere else in Canada.

There are also the usual factors of low mortgage interest rates that entice buyers (which are now rising, mind you), inflation (though real estate has gone up exponentially compared to everything else), and the ultimate evil: rich investors who buy up housing and hog it to use as income properties or to sit on them until they're worth even more down the road.

And, according to new data from Statistics Canada, these people own more real estate in the province than most might think.

While it remains to be seen how successful taxes on vacant homes and on foreign buyers really are, it seems that there are far too many people who own properties in Ontario beyond their primary residence — properties that are undeniably coveted, in short-supply, and completely unaffordable.

According to StatCan numbers analyzed by The Star this week, a whopping 28 per cent of residential real estate wealth in this province— almost a third — belongs to a very small fraction of people that make up the top 10 per cent wealthiest owners; not technically the bemoaned "one per centers," but in essence.

The bulk of average homeowners — the bottom 50 per cent when it comes to how much money they have in the game — have less property wealth than this 10 per cent, with only 24 per cent.

(When looking at income, this top ten per cent makes more than the bottom 50 per cent combined; in fact, the average income of a homeowner in this top 10 per cent was found to be more than five times that of the average income of an owner in the bottom 50 per cent).

On top of these extremely frustrating but predictable numbers, corporations and other such groups own nine per cent of housing wealth, though they make up only 1.6 per cent of the overall buyers' market, still an amount that some would argue is too much for residential properties.

And the kicker: people who already own multiple properties own more than 31 per cent of the homes provincewide, which is heavily impacting prices and has been a huge factor in what got us to this bonkers point.

"In addition to their primary residences, multiple-property owners hold properties to receive rental income or for other investment purposes, or as a recreational property which may also provide rental income," StatCan writes in a release about the data yesterday.

"Owners seeking additional properties contribute to increased competition in already tight real estate markets, making it more difficult for prospective homeowners to purchase a home. The overall impact of such holdings on housing prices and housing affordability, however, depends on a multitude of factors that are not fully assessed."

Lead photo by

Randy McDonald

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