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September 08, 2022
Today, the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate released a series of research reports that explore the growing trend of financial firms using housing as commodity to grow wealth for their investors.
Private equity firms, pension funds, and real estate investment trusts (REITs) are increasingly acquiring, operating, and developing housing as an investment strategy, with the aim of maximizing returns for shareholders.
This phenomenon, known as the financialization of housing, is not only driving house prices out of reach for middle-class families – it is also denying members of disadvantaged groups their fundamental human rights.
The reports confirm this trend is having the greatest impact on disadvantaged groups, such as vulnerable seniors, low-income tenants, people with disabilities, members of Black communities, recent immigrants and refugees, and lone-parent families.
Financialization is contributing to unaffordable rent increases, worsening conditions, and a rise in evictions – often due to renovations or rebuilding with the goal of charging higher rents. There is also a well-documented connection between financialization and increased morbidity and mortality in long-term care facilities.
This in-depth look at one of the drivers of Canada’s housing crisis will help the Advocate and decision-makers develop measures to take action on financialization.
“I am very concerned about this trend. The financialization of housing is a pressing human rights issue. All people in Canada have a human right to housing that is affordable, dignified, secure, and safe.”
Marie-Josée Houle, Federal Housing Advocate
Follow us on Twitter @HousingLogement.
Media Relations 613-943-9118
University of Waterloo
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