A colleague recently sent me an email seeking my advice on data sources to answer an issue he was examining. He noted that RBC reports that housing affordability is declining and expressed a concern that it is increasingly hard for first time buyers in urban markets: a) because of price increases (rate higher than income increases) and b) because of restrictions on underwriting criteria being ratcheted up by the federal government, an issue that has been prominent in the financial media of late.

My response was that data on mortgage lending by age and type of buyer is not readily available, but that data on the home ownership rate by age could shed some light on this. Intrigued by the issue, I examined the historic data in the Census and in the recently published 2011 National Household Survey. 

I was quite surprised by what has been happening in terms of access to ownership, especially for younger first time buyers.  Remarkably, the data through 2011 show an upward trend in ownership rates among those under the age of 35.

For a more detailed examination and the data see Refuting expectations Blog Nov 23.