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Condominium dwellings in Canada

Text Box 1: National Household Survey

This is the third release of data from the National Household Survey (NHS). Roughly 4.5 million households across Canada were selected for the NHS, representing about one–third of all households.

This NHS in Brief article complements the analytical document Homeownership and Shelter Costs in Canada, Catalogue no. 99-014-X2011002. 

Further information on the National Household Survey can be found in the National Household Survey User Guide, Catalogue no. 99-001-X. Specific information on the quality and comparability of NHS data on housing can be found in the Housing Reference Guide, National Household Survey, Catalogue no. 99-014-X2011007.

End of text box 1.

One in eight households lived in condominium dwellings, mostly located in a few CMAs

The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) showed that 1,615,485 households (12.1%) lived (either as owners or renters) in condominiums. Of these households, 1,153,580 were owners while 461,215 were renters.

Just over three–quarters (76.8%) of households in condominiums were concentrated in ten census metropolitan areas (CMAs) (Table 1). The three largest CMAs in Canada—Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal—had the highest number of households in condominiums, accounting for more than half (53.5%) of Canadian households in condominiums.Note 1

Structure type of condominiums varied across CMAs

Condominiums consisted primarily of low–rise and high–rise apartment buildings,Note 2 and row houses. Just over one–third (36.3%) of condominium units were low–rise apartments, about one–third (30.9%) were high–rise apartments, and about one–fifth (22.9%) were row houses. Other structure typesNote 3 accounted for less than one–tenth (9.9%) of condominium units (Table 1).

From one CMA to the next, the types of structures that were condominiums varied. Among the ten CMAs with the most condominiums (Table 1), high–rise apartments represented more than half of condominiums in Toronto (67.4%). Low–rise apartments represented more than half of condominiums in Québec (69.5%), Montréal (64.2%) and Victoria (53.7%). Row houses represented more than half of condominiums in London (60.0%) and Hamilton (55.0%). In Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa – Gatineau, no one structure type represented more than 50% of the condominiums.

High proportion of condominiums in newer dwellings, but single–detached houses represented the largest proportion of housing

Condominiums represented a higher proportion of recently built dwellings than of older ones. Among the ten CMAs with the most condominiums, about one in three (34.3%) occupied dwellings built between 2001 and 2011 were condominium units. For occupied dwellings built prior to 1981, less than one in ten (9.4%) dwellings were condominium units (Figure 1).

The higher proportion of condominium units in newer constructions was counterbalanced by the smaller proportion of non–condominium rental units. Of the dwellings built between 2001 and 2011, about one in ten (10.6%) was a non–condominium rental unit versus four in ten (41.2%) for dwellings built prior to 1981.

Even though condominiums represented a higher proportion of newer dwellings, single–detached houses represented the largest proportion of the occupied housing stock. Among the ten CMAs with the most condominiums, single–detached houses that were owner–occupied (but not a condominium) represented two–fifths (39.1%) of dwellings, while condominium dwellings (of all housing tenures) represented less than one–fifth (18.0%). Regardless of the period of construction, the proportion of single–detached houses was fairly constant (about 40%) and always larger than the proportion of condominiums.

Just over one–quarter of households in condominium dwellings were renters and not owners

Among the ten CMAs with the most condominiums, rented condominiums represented just over one–quarter (26.6% or 0.3 million) of condominium dwellings. Edmonton (35.2%) and Calgary (31.7%) had the highest proportions of renters in condominiums among the ten CMAs. Québec (30.9%) and Montréal (28.9%) had the next highest proportions. And, the proportion of renters among the other six CMAs ranged from 26.8% in Ottawa – Gatineau to 15.9% in Hamilton (Table 2).

Differences between condominium owners and other homeowners

In this section, data are presented for only owner households to provide insight into the role of condominiums in homeownership. Also, data are focused on the ten CMAs with the highest number of condominiums so that the comparisons reflect differences between condominium owners and other homeowners, instead of differences between areas with and without condominiums.

Non–family households made up the majority of owner households in condominiums

Non–family householdsNote 4 accounted for the highest proportion of households in condominium ownership—representing just under half of condominium owners (45.5%) [Figure 2]. In comparison, the proportion of non–family households in other owner–occupied dwellings was much smaller at 15.6%.

Couple–family householdsNote 5 (with or without children) made up the second largest proportion with 42.3% of households in condominium ownership. In contrast, about two–thirds (67.0%) of households in other owner–occupied dwellings were couple–family households.

Higher proportion of younger and older households in condominiums

Among condominium owners, the proportion of households with a primary household maintainerNote 6 aged under 35 years was about one in five (19.8%), compared to one in ten (10.5%) for other homeowners (Table 3).

The proportion of senior households, maintained by someone aged 65 years and over, was also higher for condominium owners at 26.1%, compared to 20.7% for other homeowners.

Condominium owners had a lower household total income

The average annual household total incomeNote 7 for condominium owners was more than $33,000 below that of their counterparts in other types of homeownership (around $80,000 per year versus $113,000 per year) [Figure 3].

While condominium owners had a lower household total income than other homeowners regardless of the age of the primary household maintainer, the difference was less for both younger and older households. Condominium owners in the 35 to 64 years age group had an annual household total income lower by $38,000 than other homeowners. For younger condominium owners (those with a primary maintainer aged under 35 years), it was lower by $24,000. For older condominium owners (those with a primary maintainer aged 65 years and older), it was lower by $12,000.

The average household total income for condominium owners and other homeowners varied across the ten CMAs with the highest number of condominiums. Calgary had the highest difference between condominium owners and other homeowners with an average household total income of $50,000 per year lower for condominium owners; while, Montréal had the smallest difference at $16,000 per year (Table 4).

Lower expected sale value and smaller size for condominiums

The average owner–estimated dwelling value reported by condominium owners was less than that of other homeowners. In the ten CMAs with the highest number of condominiums, the average amount expected by condominium owners if the dwelling were to be sold was $327,000, compared to $472,000 for other homeowners, a difference of nearly $150,000. The size of condominium units also differed compared to that of other dwellings. In 2011, owner–occupied condominiums had an average of 4.9 rooms compared to 7.6 for other owner–occupied dwellings (Table 4).

Among the ten CMAs, the differences in average dwelling value observed between owner–occupied condominiums and other owner–occupied dwellings varied. In the three largest CMA's, the average owner–estimated dwelling value expected by condominium owners in Vancouver was $394,000 lower than for other homeowners ($437,000 versus $830,000); in Toronto, it was lower by about $216,000 ($325,000 versus $541,000); in Montréal, it was lower by about $63,000 ($269,000 versus $331,000).

Text Box 2: Concepts and definitions

Condominium dwelling: Refers to a private dwelling that is part of a condominium development. A condominium development is a residential complex in which dwellings are owned individually while land and common elements are held in joint ownership with others.

Condominium ownership: A household is considered to be in condominium ownership if some member of the household owns the dwelling and the dwelling is part of a condominium development.

Household total income: The sum of the total incomes of all members of that household. Total income refers to the total of income from all sources, including employment income, income from government programs, pension income, investment income and any other money income, before income taxes and deductions, during the calendar year 2010.

Primary household maintainer: First person in the household identified as someone who pays the rent or the mortgage, or the taxes, or the electricity bill, and so on, for the dwelling.

Private dwelling and condominium dwelling universe: The NHS covers all private dwellings in Canada occupied by usual residents. Thus, condominium dwellings included in the NHS are all condominium dwellings occupied by usual residents – regardless of whether the housing tenure was owned, rented or band housing. Not included in the NHS are unoccupied condominium dwellings and condominium dwellings occupied solely by foreign residents and/or by temporarily present persons.

Value of owner–occupied dwelling: The dollar amount expected by the owner if the dwelling were to be sold.

End of text box 2.

Additional information

Additional information on condominiums can be found in the NHS Data Tables, Catalogue nos. 99-014-X2011026 through 99-014-X2011031, the NHS Profile, Catalogue no. 99-004-X, as well as in the NHS Focus on Geography Series, Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011005.

For details on the concepts, definitions, universes, variables and geographic terms used in the 2011 National Household Survey, please consult the National Household Survey Dictionary, Catalogue no. 99-000-X. For detailed explanations on concepts and for information on data quality, please refer to the reference guides on the Census Program website.

Note to readers

Random rounding and percentage distributions: To ensure the confidentiality of responses collected for the 2011 National Household Survey while maintaining the quality of the results, a random rounding process is used to alter the values reported in individual cells. As a result, when these data are summed or grouped, the total value may not match the sum of the individual values, since the total and subtotals are independently rounded. Similarly, percentage distributions, which are calculated on rounded data, may not necessarily add up to 100%.

Due to random rounding, estimates and percentages may vary slightly between different 2011 National Household Survey products, such as the analytical documents and various data tables.

Comparability between estimates from the 2006 Census long form and the 2011 National Household Survey estimates: When comparing estimates from the 2006 Census long form and estimates from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) users should take into account the fact that the two sources represent different populations. The target population for the 2006 Census long form includes usual residents in collective dwellings and persons living abroad whereas the target population for the NHS excludes them. Moreover, the NHS estimates are derived from a voluntary survey and are therefore subject to potentially higher non–response error than those derived from the 2006 Census long form.

Households in condominiums: The percentage of households in condominiums reported in the 2011 NHS was higher than other sources. However, the NHS data holds a unique advantage over other survey data – its large sampling fraction of about one in three households. As a result, multiple households in the same condominium development were likely to be included in the NHS. Processing and validation activities used the condominium status of neighbouring dwellings to validate and edit the data. Overall, 87.5% of the condominium dwellings in the NHS had a nearby dwelling that also reported as a condominium dwelling. Furthermore, of the remaining 12.5% of condominium dwellings, over 80% were located in multi–unit structures. Thus, the Condominium status variable in the NHS is supported by a high level of consistency with neighbouring dwellings and with the Structure type of dwelling variable.


This report was prepared by Sandrine LeVasseur and Jerry Situ of Statistics Canada's Income Statistics Division, with the assistance of staff members of Statistics Canada's Income Statistics Division, Census Subject Matter Secretariat, Geography Division, Census Operations Division, Dissemination Division and Communications Division.

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