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In Canada, South Asians four times as likely to buy a home

February 19, 2021

South Asians in Canada are far more inclined to buy a home than others, according to a large-scale consumer research report.

The two million people who make up Canada’s South Asian population, which mostly consists of immigrants and is concentrated in Toronto and Vancouver, also have far more high-level educational degrees, according to the recent survey of almost 3,500 South Asian adults.

“Home ownership is very important to South Asians. They’re four times more likely to buy a home than the average Canadian, because they’re told by their parents that renting is just throwing away your money,” said Rahul Sethi, a director with Vivintel, which conducted the poll.

“In South Asia, there’s this prestige about owning land, being a homeowner. A few years after you arrive in Canada, it’s also seen as a key way to grow income,” said Sethi, 38, a Toronto resident who came to Canada with his family when he was six.

Similarly, ethnic Chinese people in Canada are four times more likely to buy homes than the general population, said Sethi, referring to an earlier ethnic consumer survey. (The surveys are sold to media, retail and advertising companies.)

The relative newness of South Asian culture in Canada is illustrated by the fact that more than nine out of 10 South Asian adults in Canada were not born in this country, according to the survey. Of those not born here, almost 60 per cent are Canadian citizens, almost 37 per cent are permanent residents, and about four per cent are international students or guest workers.

In Metro Vancouver, South Asians are the third-largest ethnic group after Caucasians and ethnic Chinese. South Asians account for 300,000 Metro Vancouver residents, or about 12 per cent of the population, focused particularly in suburbs such as Surrey.

The one million South Asian residents of Greater Toronto make up 17 per cent of that region’s population.

South Asians tend to be highly educated, earning their university degrees in India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, as well as Canada.

“Compared to the average Canadian adult, South Asians are 2.2 times more likely on average to have a higher degree (than a bachelors), with those arriving within the last 10 years nearly 2.4 times more likely,” says a report on the Vivintel survey, which was conducted in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

The strong levels of higher education among South Asians tie into discussions about how to compare the value of degrees from a foreign country to those earned in Canada. Stories abound about people who come from India or Pakistan with masters degrees or PhDs who aren’t able to get jobs in their chosen profession.

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