Housing is a monster issue, but it’s not affecting everyone the same way

Here’s what we know about the hottest issue in Canadian politics.

Sept 25, 2023

Two out of three Canadians see housing affordability as a “crisis”. Even most Liberals (59%) agree. But expensive houses don’t affect everyone the same way. Rising prices have been only bad news for half the population, but only good news for 17%. Others see a mix of good and bad or no impact at all.

But those feeling the pain, feel it very keenly. Those under 30 are a staggering 18 points more likely to say the run up in prices has been bad for them. Renters are also much harder hit. Older people, homeowners, and the more affluent are not impacted in the same way.

Canadians are evenly split on whether the Trudeau government or other orders of government are to blame for housing costs. Blaming Ottawa is more common among Conservatives and Albertans and less so among people on the left and in Quebec.

A majority (61%) feel “Canada should reduce the amount of immigration to Canada unless we can build more houses more quickly”, while 39% take the view “we need more immigration both to help grow our economy and to help provide the labour to build more houses”. A majority of Conservative (74%) voters are inclined to want to taper immigration, and almost half (45%) of Liberal voters think that might make sense too.

What’s it mean?

Housing costs are a pain point for millions of voters – and a huge issue for a great many young people. Unlike some issues which can seem politically potent but don’t become ballot markers, housing costs are a cost-of-living pressures and a “hope for the future” depressant. The political stakes are huge. People know this isn’t impossible, and that Canada can build affordable homes – they will look for politicians who can make it happen, and quickly.

Survey details: August 18-28, online, 3,000 cases nationwide in Canada.


About spark*insights

spark*insights is lead by Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading and most experienced public opinion researchers, along with Alex Kohut, former Senior Manager of Research & Advertising in the Office of the Prime Minister. From polling and research to analysis and guidance, we help organizations, uncover the factors driving or influencing public perception to gain valuable insights into the shape and movement of the landscape.

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