The Canadian Rental Housing index lists many of Canada's major metro regions in critical condition (e.g. Greater Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Toronto, York and Peel) or severe condition (e.g. Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montréal, Fredericton, Halifax and St. Johns) with many smaller cities and rural regions in severe or poor condition.
As far as home ownership goes, a generation ago it took the average Canadian 5 years to save a 20 per cent downpayment on a home. Today, the Canadian average is 13 years. In Toronto it's now over 22 years. In Metro Vancouver, it's at 27 years.
Many see no choice but to leave their communities, taking their energy and talents with them. Many others make significant sacrifices in order to stay (e.g. accepting much smaller homes than they grew up in, taking on massive debts or giving up on home ownership altogether). Others are reaping windfall gains in equity or have already cashed out, but nonetheless recognize the situation is unfair (especially in places like Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and elsewhere).
The housing crisis is part of a larger affordability crisis, or squeeze, hitting younger people especially hard (though impacts are felt across all ages).
Especially maddening: massive influxes of international capital pulling markets skyward; shady profiteering within the real estate industry; vacant homes hollowing out our neighbourhoods; unstable, unaffordable or poor quality rentals.
Bottom line: we need our politicians to step up, starting with a commitment to treat housing first and foremost as a place to live.