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Changing Patterns in Canadian Homeownership and Shelter Costs, 2006 Census: Geographical differences

Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada continues to have the highest rates of homeownership in the country, according to the census.

Of the 197,185 households in Newfoundland and Labrador, 78.7% owned their dwelling, the highest proportion in Canada. In New Brunswick, three-quarters (75.5%) of the 295,960 households owned their home, as did 74.1% of the 53,135 households in Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia ranked fifth, behind Alberta. About 72.0% of Nova Scotia's 376,845 households owned their home.

These rates increased moderately in each of the four Atlantic provinces between 2001 and 2006, though gains were below the national average.

One big factor is that more than 40% of households in the Atlantic provinces are in rural areas, compared with less than 20% for Canada as a whole. Rural households are more likely to own their home than their urban counterparts. Overall, homeownership rates were high in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, even though they had relatively low urban homeownership rates, compared to the other provinces.

For example, 88.8% of rural households in Prince Edward Island owned their home, compared with only 58.0% of urban households. However, less than one-half of all households in the province are located in an urban area.

The proportion of owner households that had a mortgage rose substantially in the Atlantic provinces, except in New Brunswick, where the increase was below the national average. In Newfoundland and Labrador, 44.8% of households had a mortgage in 2006, compared with 40.3% five years earlier. This was the fastest proportional increase.

The median price homeowners in Atlantic Canada expected to receive for selling their home was well below the national median of $200,474. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the median value was $89,870 in 2006, and in the three other Atlantic provinces, median values ranged from $100,000 to $130,000.

Between 2001 and 2006, consumer prices in the Atlantic provinces, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose faster than the national average, with Prince Edward Island increasing the most, at 15.5%.

The proportion of households spending 30% or more of their income on shelter was below the national average of 24.9% in all four provinces. This proportion ranged between 18.9% in Newfoundland and Labrador and 22.6% in Nova Scotia. Between 2001 and 2006, it rose only in Prince Edward Island.

Median shelter costs in Prince Edward Island increased 23.3% during this period, compared with a gain of only 15.6% in median household income. This was the biggest difference between the growth in shelter costs and income in the country.

In 2006, fewer than 7% of Atlantic provinces households lived in a dwelling that was less than five years old. The one exception was Prince Edward Island, where 8.3% of households lived in a new dwelling, virtually on par with the national average.

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