Fears about costs of living continue to dim Canadians’ perspectives

The housing affordability crisis is fuelling this anxiety

Fears about costs of living continue to dim Canadians’ perspectives

Canadians continue to worry about housing and its associated costs despite the recent strength of the national economy, according to a new poll commissioned for CBC News.

The survey found that among the leading sources of anxiety among Canadians, fears about housing and living costs predominated, with 32% of respondents citing these as their major sources of worry.

This far outstripped other concerns, including climate change (19%), health of self/family members (10%), and immigration (8%).

Manulife chief economist and head of macroeconomic strategy Frances Donald noted that these figures aren’t surprising, considering that housing affordability remains an ever-distant dream for most of hopeful home buyers in Toronto and Vancouver.

“So while the data, as a whole, still looks fairly solid, it’s completely understandable, even from someone who spends all day looking at numbers ... why consumers and households might be feeling a little bit nervous,” Donald stated.

The focus on purchasing power has permeated many Canadians’ outlook on the upcoming elections, as well. As much as 35% of respondents cited employment and the economy as the most important of the current election issues – even with the addition of 27,000 new jobs in May and 106,500 in April.

The results mirrored some of the conclusions reached in a May survey conducted by Genworth Canada in collaboration with Royal LePage. Said poll found that fully 57% of first-time home buyers nationwide are worried about missing out on their preferred homes because of insufficient down payments.

This phenomenon was especially apparent in Toronto (68% of respondents), Montreal (60%), and Vancouver (58%).