New data from Pluriel Research’s What Canadians Think survey finds that despair is a dominant emotion felt by Canadians when it comes to housing.

Key takeaways

  • When asked about housing, despair (56%) , anger (67%) and worry (76%) are emotions felt by a majority of Canadians.
  • Negative emotions are split along generational lines, with a majority of Canadians over 55 having more positive emotions associated with housing.
  • Foreign investors share the most blame for the housing crisis, with 77% of Canadians laying the blame at their feet.
  • 65% of Canadians support government intervention to limit investment in residential real estate

New data from Pluriel Research’s What Canadians Think survey finds that despair is a dominant emotion felt by Canadians when it comes to housing, with a staggering 56% of respondents reporting that thinking about the housing market makes them feel “despair.” An even larger majority, 67%, expressed feelings of “anger,” reflecting a deep-seated frustration with the current state of housing in the country. Furthermore, a remarkable 76% of Canadians feel “worried” about housing.

These emotional responses to the housing crisis are notably divided along generational lines. Among those under 34 years old, despair is felt by an astonishing 79%, whereas only 38% of those over 55 share this sentiment. Similarly, 80% of individuals under 34 report feeling anger, compared to 57% of those over 55. Worry is also notably more pronounced among younger Canadians, with 84% of those under 34 expressing worry compared to 67% of those over 55.

“These survey results paint a striking picture of the emotional toll that the housing crisis is taking on Canadians,” said Gabe De Roche, CEO of Pluriel Research. “It is evident that the housing situation is a source of significant distress, especially among younger Canadians. Where these feelings lead, and what it means for trust and support for government, is a problem for leaders at all levels.”

The survey delved into the issue of blame, revealing that Canadians attribute the housing crisis to a range of factors. Foreign investors receive the lion’s share of blame, with 77% of respondents pointing fingers in their direction. Corporations and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are also held accountable, with 73% of Canadians placing blame on them. Individual landlords are not exempt from scrutiny, as 75% of respondents attribute some responsibility to them. Short-term rentals (STRs) such as Airbnb also come under fire, with 71% of Canadians holding them accountable for the housing crisis.

“Canadians are looking for someone to hold accountable for the housing crisis, and it’s not just toward government that they’re turning their ire. Canadians hold investors responsible too, with foreign investors and large corporate investors receiving the bulk of that blame,” noted Gabe De Roche. “Understanding these perceptions is crucial for policymakers as they consider solutions to this issue that is coming to dominate politics at all levels.”

Interestingly, the survey demonstrates significant support for government intervention to curb investment in real estate, with 65% of Canadians supporting such measures. This suggests a growing sentiment among the public that government action is needed to address the housing crisis.

These survey results provide a powerful snapshot of the emotions and perspectives that Canadians hold in relation to the housing crisis. The stark contrast in sentiments across age groups, along with the widespread call for government intervention, underscores the urgency of addressing this critical issue in the nation.

Note on methodology: these insights are part of Pluriel Research’s “What Canadians Think” omnibus survey, one of Pluriel’s high-frequency data products. The survey was fielded online from Sept 25-26, 2023, with a total of 1,092 respondents (Canadians 18+), and survey weights were applied to account for any remaining sampling imbalances. The margin-of-error for an equivalent probability sample is +/- 3%. Margins-of-error for subgroups in the sample are larger commensurate with their share of the population.