The disparity between homeowners and renters has continued to grow; it now takes the average Canadian urban homebuyer, 28 years to save the recommended 20% down payment. The rising inequality between homeowners and renters will continue to get worse if there are only two options available; ownership with a conventional mortgage and renting. 

The challenges facing renters today 

It’s no secret that in Canada, housing is one of the best vehicles for wealth and investment, often to the detriment of renters. As housing prices increase, rents will often increase alongside them. Housing has become more expensive, locking out a large portion of the population from this opportunity. 

If you’re renting while prices in residential real estate continue to outpace and eclipse wages, how can you ever expect to get into the market? 

According to the National Bank of Canada’s housing affordability monitor you need to have a household income of almost $200k in order to afford a home in Toronto, with $1,146,667 being the price of a representative home in the city. 

How co-ownership can enable more people to prosper with real estate 

At the end of the day, giving more people access to homeownership benefits everyone. Key introduced our co-ownership model in 2021, allowing aspiring owners to start co-owning alongside property owners. 

Our mission is to create a third, hybrid option aside from renting or ownership with a conventional mortgage. This hybrid option enables the two key benefits of homeownership.

1. An equity stake that can grow with the real estate market.


For just 2.5% of the value of their suite, co-owners, Owner-Residents, now have an equity position from day one that can grow with the real estate market. They can invest more at any time plus $50 of their monthly payment automatically goes towards building their equity. Each time they invest more, they own more of the suite, which also reduces their monthly rent equivalent.

Their investments are also matched with our co-financing benefit, this is a leverage product that is possible without the co-owners taking on any debt. We match every $1 invested with  $1 of leverage, up until ownership reaches 25% (at this point it is applied at a lower ratio). This means our Owner-Resident’s investment grows at the same rate as the property owner.

Learn more about how co-financing works.

2. Increased security of tenancy. 

One of the challenges renters face today is the possibility of their owners evicting them. With co-ownership, both of the owners are signed to 3-year terms, which provides security of tenancy and predictable monthly payments. After three years, the Owner-Resident has the option to purchase the unit the conventional way with a mortgage, but this is not a requirement. They can continue to co-own and add to their equity over time.

If the property owner wants to sell, the Owner-Resident has the first option to buy the home. If they decide not to, then Key can buy it, in which case the Owner-Resident can continue to co-own. If neither the Owner-Resident or Key is ready to buy the home, the property owner can then sell it on the open market. 

Once it’s sold, the Owner-Resident will get all their investments back, plus their portion of how the value of the suite appreciated while they lived there. In this situation, the property owner must give the Owner-Resident six months’ notice, so they have lots of time to decide where they want to live next. During that time, if the Owner-Resident wishes to continue co-owning, Key will do everything they can to help them find another Key suite to co-own. 

By creating alternative homeownership solutions like co-ownership models, we’re increasing access to one of the most important wealth-generating vehicles for millennials. To learn more about how Key’s co-ownership model works, you can check out our FAQ