UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Are renters being left behind? : homeownership and wealth accumulation in Canadian cities Somerville, Tsur; Qiang, Li; Teller, Paulina; Farrell, Michael; Jones, Derek; Kasahara, Yosh


The promotion of homeownership is an important policy of governments around the world. One motivation for this support is the benefits to local communities from the greater neighbourhood involvement of homeowners.1 For individual buyers, an often cited benefit of homeownership is that it is a good way to accumulate wealth. Certainly it is an important element of wealth; the median Canadian household has over 50 percent of their wealth in their home.2 We are interested in just how much homeownership itself contributes to wealth. The greater homeownership’s role in building household wealth, the bigger will be the wealth gap between owners and renters. This paper examines whether by not owning a home, do renters miss a critical opportunity to build wealth: do they miss the great wealth accumulation boat? This draft: January 29, 2007

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada