A recent survey shows that quite a few Canadians pay more than they can afford for housing, and that the problem is more common among renters than homeowners.
The survey, done by RateSupermarket.ca using Leger's online panel, polled more than 1,500 people across the country. Forty-four per cent of renters, and 20 per cent of homeowners said they spent more than a third of their income on housing.
Among renters, 15 per cent said rent costs them more than half of their monthly income.
"Ottawa is actually the best-performing city in our survey, when it came to people overspending on housing," said Jacob Black of RateSupermarket.ca. "Only 22 per cent of people in the city of Ottawa are spending more than a third of their household income on their home."
Toronto and Montreal saw the highest numbers of respondents who spend more than a third of their income on housing, at 34 and 33 per cent, respectively.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) suggests that households should spend less than one-third of their income on housing, and that any more than that is a stretch on a family's finances.
"It affects your ability to budget properly for the rest of the things in your life," said Black. "It affects your ability to save for your retirement, it affects your ability to purchase the vehicle you need for your family."
While it won't solve the problem, Black suggests shopping around for the best rates you can find on your other bills, like services and interest rates on debt, to ease some of the financial sting.