Canadian homeowners see net worth increase by $730 billion in 2021 first quarter, renters gain only $43 billion

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      Thanks to rising house prices, homeowners in Canada saw their net worth increase by 730 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

      A new report says that on a per household basis, this means a gain of about $73,000 for each owner-occupied household in the first three months of this year.

      This is in contrast to the meager increase in the net worth of renters in the country, which rose by around $43 billion.

      On a per household basis, this means that the average renter household's net worth rose by about $8,000 in the first quarter of 2021.

      Net worth is the value of a person’s assets minus liabilities.

      The numbers are contained in broad report by Statistics Canada released Friday (June 11).

      The report titled “National balance sheet and financial flow accounts, first quarter 2021” presented a picture of Canada’s national wealth.

      The report talked about national net worth, which it defines as the “sum of national wealth and Canada's net foreign asset position”.

      Statistics Canada said that national net worth “jumped by over $1 trillion ($1,070.9 billion) or 7.7% to reach $14,965.7 billion at the end of the first quarter”.

      “On a per capita basis, national net worth rose from $365,184 to $392,496,” the report stated.

      Meanwhile, the Canadian economy “added a record-breaking $1,032.0 billion to national wealth during the quarter, as the value of non-financial assets reached $13,575.2 billion”.

      “The value of residential real estate increased by an unprecedented 9.4%, marking a third consecutive quarter of strong growth,” the report noted.

      It’s not all roses for Canadian real estate.

      For those who have yet to enter the market, affordability is a big barrier.

      “With the increase in home prices, entering the housing market has gradually become more difficult for first-time buyers,” Statistics Canada reported.

      The agency noted that the average selling price of a home rose 87 percent over the last 10 years.

      This has resulted in a “similar increase in the average minimum down payment”.

      “Meanwhile, household disposable income grew 51.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis,” the report stated.

      Furthermore, real estate as a percentage of disposable income rose to 487.4 percent, “up substantially” from the end of 2019, which stood at 440.3 percent.

      Bottom line: “overall affordability continued to be squeezed”.

      In the first quarter of 2021, the value of residential real estate in Canada increased by $595.5 billion, or a “record” 9.5 percent rise.

      “By comparison, the value of real estate increased by just over $750 billion in 2020,” Statistics Canada reported.

      In addition, the average selling price of existing homes increased by 18.1 percent from December 2020 to the first quarter of this year.

      At the end of March 2021, the average price of a Canadian home was over $700,000.

      In the report, Statistics Canada also noted that the “stock of existing housing recorded an upsurge in value, because of significant gains in home prices”.

      Also, owners' equity as a percentage of real estate “climbed to 76.5% at the end of the first quarter as growth in home valuations outpaced the rise in mortgage debt”.

      “On a seasonally adjusted basis, total credit market borrowing by households was $32.1 billion in the first quarter,” the report noted.

      It continued: “Demand for mortgage loans declined to $29.0 billion, following the record amount posted in the previous quarter.”