The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada posted an insightful article about the downsizing delay of aging Canadians contributing to a growing housing crisis around the country.
As aging Canadians stay put in their homes, housing availability is squeezed so supply doesn’t meet demand.
Dennis and Joyce Short bought their three-bedroom bungalow in London, Ontario’s White Oaks neighbourhood more than 40 years ago for $32,500. Having long-since paid off the mortgage—redirecting those payments to RRSPs—the retired couple, 67 and 68 respectively, have no plans on selling anytime soon.
The Shorts are part of a growing trend of older Canadians that don’t see value in downsizing. Their homes may have too many bedrooms (according to a 2017 report by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), there are more than five million spare bedrooms in Ontario alone), but benefits—including staying in the community they love, next to the neighbours they know, with the conveniences they are used to—outweigh acquiring a more manageable space, size-wise.
Yvonne Ziomecki, executive vice president of marketing and sales for HomeEquity Bank points to another deterrent—the often overlooked costs of downsizing, including realtor fees, new furniture for a new space and other moving expenses.
“People rarely talk about the real costs of downsizing,” Ziomecki says. “Depending upon where you downsize to, you are not necessarily going to free up a lot of equity. Everything is expensive. And then there are those things that you can’t put a dollar value on.”
Without alternate housing options available, we leave older homeowners’ hands tied.