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Photo: James Bombales

Some consider it a cornerstone of the Canadian dream, but new data from Canada’s statistical agency suggests the single-family home continues to make up a dwindling share of the national housing stock.

Fifty-three per cent of all occupied private dwellings in Canada are single-detached houses, according to the 2016 Census, down from a 55 per cent share in 2011, when the previous long-form census was conducted.

The current share works out to about 7.5 million of the roughly 14.1 million occupied private dwellings across the country. “The proportion of single-detached houses has been declining over the past three decades,” notes a Statistics Canada Census in Brief, published this month.

BC saw the biggest long-term drop in the share of single-detached homes. In the 1980s, more than 60 per cent of the province’s private occupied dwellings were in the detached segment, compared to just 44.1 per cent as of 2016.

The decline is the result of urban intensification, Statistics Canada suggests.

In only one other province do detached homes account for less than half the overall stock of private occupied dwellings: Quebec, where 45.4 per cent of the market is detached.

Canadawide, 18 per cent of private occupied dwellings identified last year were in apartment buildings with no more than four storeys, while 9.9 per cent of them could be found within apartment buildings of at least five storeys.

Duplex apartments equalled 5.6 per cent of Canada’s private housing stock, and 12.9 per cent of Canadian private dwellings were in the “other” category, which includes semi-detached houses, row homes, mobile homes and more.

Across census metro areas, the greatest share of apartments are found in Montreal, as 58.4 per cent of the private dwellings in that CMA are apartments in either low- and high-rise buildings. Vancouver was close behind at 58.1 per cent, followed by Quebec City’s 49.4 per cent share of apartments.

In terms of “high-rise” apartments, which measure five or more storeys in height, the Toronto CMA had the biggest proportion. Close to three out of 10 homes there were in that type of residential structure, while Toronto continued to lead North America for the number of cranes operating, laying claim to 81 by 2016’s end.

Statistics Canada says private occupied dwellings “may include” both condos and rental apartments, and exclude homes occupied by non-residents or people who are only living there temporarily. Likewise, institutional, communal and commercial are beyond the scope of this census brief.

A Statistics Canada spokesperson tells BuzzBuzzNews the agency is still gathering data on condos and rentals, which will be released in October this year.

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