At a glance (2 minute read)

  • The number of senior households in Canada is expected to rise significantly due to the aging baby boomer population.
  • Seniors aged 75 to 79 are staying in their homes longer due to a lack of housing supply and choice, with a potential shift towards condominiums, rentals, or assisted living as they age further.

The number of senior households across Canada will significantly increase in the coming years as Canada’s large population of baby boomers continues to age.

But a mass of downsizing seniors is still about a decade away according to a new Housing Market Insight report from Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC).

To better understand the impact of senior households on the real estate market, the report began by asking four questions.

  1. What proportion of elderly households are putting their home up for sale?
  2. Are households moving into the condominium market as they age?
  3. Are households choosing to rent as they age?
  4. Are elderly households choosing to downsize when they relocate at older ages?

To answer these questions, Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) reviewed and compared recent and previous census data. 

At what age do seniors decide to sell their current property?

  • In 2016, there were 466,775 owner households aged 75 to 79 in Canada.
  • In 2021, there were only 366,275 owner households aged 80 to 84.

From 2016 to 2021, the number of senior homeowners age 75 to 79 fell by 100,500 – meaning the properties were sold or changed hands, a sell rate of 21.5 per cent (100,500 over 466,775).

Unsurprisingly, the rate at which seniors sell their homes increases with age. In the 95 to 99-year-old group, 83.5 per cent sold their property. 

Why are 75 to 79 year old seniors staying put?

A lack of housing supply and choice are the key reasons seniors are staying in their homes longer.

But as this group gets older, they’re more likely to move into a condominium, to rent a home, or to go to assisted living. 

Read the CMHC news release about this report.

Read the Housing Market Insight report (opens 23-page pdf).