As housing costs continue to rise, 40% of Canadians are worried about their ability to make mortgage or rent payments over the next year.

A new survey from Habitat for Humanity Canada found that affordable housing was the third-highest concern for Canadians, right behind inflation and healthcare. Not too surprisingly, nearly every Canadian surveyed -- 96% -- said that their cost of living has increased over the past year, with a staggering 78% saying they are worried about having to spend less of food, savings, transportation, and debt to be able to make their housing payments.

Looking at a breakdown by age, Gen Z and Millennials were more than twice as likely to be concerned about their rent and mortgage payments than Boomers. Already, 28% of respondents said they cannot afford a down payment of any amount towards a home, and 27% said they feel pessimistic about whether much can be done to fix Canada's housing problems.

“This survey underscores how deeply concerned Canadians are about their housing situations and futures as affordable housing becomes increasingly out of reach,” said Julia Deans, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada.

Canada's lack of housing supply is seen as the largest contributor to the affordability crisis, with an overwhelming 90% of Canadians saying there is a shortage of affordable housing. Nearly half (43%) see this lack of supply as one of the largest factors worsening affordability, beating out both foreign buyers and investment firms buying homes.

With such a heavy focused being placed on development to solve the housing crisis, more than half of the poll respondents (54%) said that NIMBYism is one of the biggest barriers to creating affordable housing. Discrimination was also seen as a barrier, with 11% responding that they have experienced racism, sexism, or another form of discrimination while looking for housing. BIPOC Canadians were more than twice as likely to report this.

Beyond wanting to secure an affordable place to call home, three-quarters of Canadians reported that more affordable housing could solve other socials issues, with 87% agreeing that owning a home can create more stability for Canadians. Sixty percent of respondents said that home ownership can improve educational opportunities for themselves and their family, and 73% said that it can strengthen ties to their community.

Deans says that to address these growing concerns, businesses, non-profits, government, and individuals need to take an all-in approach.

“In our work, we see firsthand how access to stable housing transforms futures and fosters resiliency across generations,” Deans said. “We must act now, and we must act together towards addressing the systemic barriers and creating sustainable solutions to achieve affordable housing for all.”