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High cost of housing is affecting Canadians’ mental health: survey

The high cost of housing is having an adverse effect on Canadians’ mental health, according to a recently released survey by Zoocasa.

Zoocasa polled over 1,300 Canadians between September 17 to 29, 2019, to gauge sentiment on today’s top housing issues and found that 59% of all respondents felt dealing with rising housing costs affected their mental health negatively at least once within the last 12 months.

“A key issue behind home unaffordability is that housing prices, especially in the nation’s largest urban centres, have increased rapidly over the last decade, well outpacing the rate of inflation and local wage growth,” says Penelope Graham, managing editor of Zoocasa. For example, sold prices in Toronto reached an average of $852,142 this October, while benchmark prices on the Vancouver MLS stand at $992,900.

Renters Most Likely to Feel the Brunt of High Housing Costs

Renters appear to be most affected by rising housing prices — 76% said that dealing with rising housing costs negatively impacted their mental health at least once in the past 12 months compared to 50% of homeowners. That’s likely because homeowners have more control over their living situation while renters are subject to uncertainty, like the possibility that their landlord may decide to move into their unit or perform major renovations which would leave them searching for a new place on the open market. 

Homeowners Not Immune to Housing Stress

But general financial strain is affecting Canadians across the board. 

The majority of respondents — 79% — reported that their finances were their biggest source of stress at least once in the last 12 months. Renters still felt this stress most keenly, with 86% agreeing compared to 75% of homeowners. 

Homeowners still face stress even after settling on a house because the carrying costs — mortgage, property taxes, heating, insurance are so high, and increasing every year.

An overwhelming number of respondents, 91%, agree that the cost of buying a home in their town or city has rising faster than incomes, and this has made it difficult for middle-class Canadians to buy their first home

“However, despite these noted challenges,” Graham says, “homeownership remains an important, and coveted life milestone that many feel should be achievable in early adulthood.”

The findings are based on an online survey conducted by Zoocasa Realty from Sep 17, 2019 to Sep 29, 2019 of 1,307 respondents in Canada. A margin of error cannot be assigned because it is an online survey, however, the margin of error for a comparable sample of the same size is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Zoocasa is a full-service brokerage that offers advanced online search tools to empower Canadians with the data and expertise they need to make more successful real estate decisions. View real estate listings at or download our free iOS app