TORONTO -- As the federal party leaders pitch their plans to make home ownership more affordable to Canadians, new data from Environics Analytics suggests these policy announcements are unlikely to influence the election results in a significant number of ridings.

That’s because there is a relatively small percentage of Canadian households that are planning to buy real estate in the next year, according to Environics Analytics projections.

The projections show that only 6.7 per cent, or one million of Canada’s 15 million households, intend to purchase real estate in the next year.

“It’s a relatively small percentage of households that are going to be considering getting into the real estate market,” Environics Analytics’ Rupen Seoni told during a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“So if you're not considering getting in the real estate market, or you don't want to get in the real estate market, the housing policies are maybe not going to be as relevant to you, or not going to motivate your vote as much.”


As for who intends to buy real estate in the near future, Seoni said it varies depending on the segment of the population. To understand this, Environics Analytics analyzed voter behaviours and socio-demographic characteristics to create 15 voter segments. 

Of these voter segments, Seoni said political promises to make housing more affordable was disproportionately appealing to those in the “Big City Burbs,” “Jeunes en Villes,” and “Young in the City” voter segments.

In the “Big City Burbs” segment – a collection of prosperous suburbs mainly found in B.C., Alberta and Ontario that tends to contain well-established immigrant and second-generation professionals and service workers who are raising their children in fast-growing communities – nearly 10 per cent of households intended to be in the housing market in the next year.

This was also the case among the “Jeunes en Villes” segment, which consists of young people living in central neighbourhoods in Quebec’s cities and has many well-educated professionals with a relatively high degree of cultural diversity, where approximately 10 per cent planned to buy real estate

The projections show that only 6.7 per cent, or one million of Canada’s 15 million households, intend to purchase real estate in the next year.

Finally, in the “Young in the City” segment, which is the Anglo equivalent of “Jeunes en Ville”: young, highly educated singles and couples in English Canada’s larger cities, approximately 8 per cent of households intended to get into the real estate market.

“The populations that are likely to be in the market, they reflect where housing markets, for the most part, are hot,” Seoni said, "right in and around the big cities. “You've got a combination of young people, and you've got ... families, younger to mature and families, that are probably trying to upsize their homes.”

Notably, the data showed that none of the top ridings with the highest percentage of households intending to buy real estate were in British Columbia, despite the province’s hot housing market.

“Clearly, in terms of people intending to be in the home-buying market, what I'm extrapolating from that information, is that there may be sort of a latent demand for new housing in B.C. But it's just so expensive that a lot of people are just saying, ‘I'm not even going to try,’” Seoni said.


Seoni said it was interesting to discover that of the 41 ridings with the highest percentage of households intending to be in the market, the majority (34) were Liberal strongholds during the 2019 federal election.

“What I thought was super interesting about the actual riding breakdown of where you see the highest percentage of households that are intending to be in the market for a home is how overwhelmingly Liberal they were in the last election. That blew me away,” he said.

What’s more, of these 41 ridings, very few were competitive in the 2019 election and most were won by margins of 20 per cent or more over the second-place party.

“[I’m] not saying that there couldn't be upsets in any of those ridings where they could switch parties, but it's probably not going to be just on this issue,” he said.

View full-screen version of interactive map by Esri Canada

Ultimately, Seoni said that if the parties are just trying to create policies with targeted benefits to a specific segment of voters, in this case prospective homebuyers, he doesn’t think it will be the most effective strategy to win votes, based on their data.

However, he said the parties have the opportunity to augment their brand by trying to address shortcomings in the housing market as part of their platform policies based on their principles and doing the right thing for Canadians.

“And there seems to be enough of a groundswell of interest, that hopefully the parties will mobilize themselves and propose policies that will actually fix the things that are wrong,” he said.

Environics Analytics is a Bell Canada company


Housing marketing purchase intention estimates are from Environics Analytics’ Opticks Powered by Vividata database. Estimates are updated annually based on survey data from Vividata that are projected to six-digit postal codes using geodemographic modelling methods. Property values are from EA’s WealthScapes database, which contains annual neighbourhood-level estimates for about 100 financial variables (types of assets and debt), with about 20 of these being updated quarterly.