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Grouping households by the age of their primary maintainer is a common way of studying the impact of age on housing tenure. The primary household maintainer is the person responsible for paying the rent, mortgage, taxes, electricity, and so on, for the dwelling.
The percentage of households with mortgages increased between 2001 and 2006 for all age groups. Age 45 marks the transition between this increase being led primarily by a decline in the share of renters to the increase being led by a decline in the share of mortgage-free homeowners.
Among older households with a primary maintainer aged 45 and over, two-thirds of the increase in the share of mortgage holders came from a decline in the percentage of households with no mortgage.
This seems to indicate that the increase in mortgage holding for these primary maintainer age groups may have been primarily because of delays in paying off mortgages, perhaps to pay for renovations or other large expenses or because of the need to pay for two dwellings in the event of marital break-up.
For younger households, those with a primary maintainer aged 44 and under, almost three-quarters of the percentage increase in mortgage holding came from a decline in the percentage of renter households. In other words, the increase in mortgage holding for these primary maintainer age groups may be primarily because households moved from renting into homeownership via a mortgage.
Taking out a mortgage to buy a home is becoming increasingly popular among the two youngest primary maintainer age groups, in particular, those 24 and under, and those 25 to 34.
For owner households with a primary maintainer aged 24 and under, the share with mortgages rose from 80.7% in 2001 to 82.0% in 2006. For owner households with a primary maintainer aged 25 to 34, the share rose from 89.8% to 91.2%.
Change in the distribution of housing tenure between 2001 and 2006 for younger and older households, Canada, 2006