September 5, 2017

Trends in household mobility and housing choices

Household mobility has become an integral part of modern societies and economies. It plays a crucial role in distributing population across communities and in shaping housing demand. A better understanding of household mobility and of movers’ housing preferences allows us to better anticipate Canada’s future housing needs. CMHC’s report on household mobility and housing choices examines data from the 2011 National Household Survey and reveals trends such as:

Residential moves have a greater impact on housing turnover than migration

Residential moves (within the same city, town, etc.) occurred more often than migration (to a different community) within the year prior to 2011 Census Day. This was the case for all age groups of household primary maintainers. Some 7.5% of all households made a residential move over the period, whereas only 4.7% of households migrated.

Housing demand generated by movers is shaped primarily by the preferences of younger households

Residential move and migration rates were highest among the youngest households and progressively declined for older households. Households aged 15 to 34 represented the lion’s share (47%) of all movers, whereas senior households made up only 8%.

Income does not generally drive household mobility

When movers were divided into renters, owners, and those who moved into band housing, the household mobility rates within each tenure group of owners and renters were rather similar across all income groups except households with annual income under $10,000 (see figure).

Movers have varied preferences for structural type of dwelling

Residential movers were most likely to move into apartments in low-rise buildings, while internal migrants (migrating within Canada) had a particularly strong preference for single-detached houses. External migrants (moving from outside Canada) were most likely to settle in either low-rise or high-rise apartment buildings.

Household mobility rate, by before-tax household income and tenure

Text version

Household mobility rate, by before-tax household income and tenure, 2011
  Household mobility rate (%)
Before-tax household income group Renters Owners Band housing
Under $10,000 34 11 8
$10,000 - $19,999 21 6 8
$20,000 - $29,999 23 6 8
$30,000 - $39,999 23 6 8
$40,000 - $49,999 23 7 8
$50,000 - $59,999 24 7 7
$60,000 - $69,999 23 8 6
$70,000 - $79,999 23 8 5
$80,000 - $89,999 22 7 5
$90,000 - $99,999 22 7 7
$100,000 - $124,999 23 7 5
$120,000 - $149,999 22 7 4
$150,000 and over 23 6 5

Source: CMHC, adapted from Statistics Canada (National Household Survey)

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