The dream of homeownership is strong among millennials
Nicole and Matt have two small children. Matt is a welder and Nicole works in a salon. Two years ago, while Nicole was pregnant with their second child, they decided it was time to start looking for a home.
They searched REALTOR.ca for their perfect starter home.They needed a few bedrooms, some space for the kids to play in the yard and, ideally, a garage for Matts welding side jobs. They called a REALTOR, spoke with a mortgage broker and made a decision.
Home ownership was not affordable for them at that time. They moved into Nicoles parents house. Not how you expected that story to end, is it?
Unfortunately, this is the reality that many millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) face in Canada today. In research released in October of 2018, conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), housing ranked as the top priority for Canadian millennials.
In fact, 86 per cent of Canadian millennials who are not homeowners want to own a home someday and 68 per cent of those are passionate about it.
So whats stopping them? In the survey, millennials stated that saving enough for a down payment, the cost of carrying a home with monthly mortgage payments and mortgage interest rates were the top three factors that impacted their ability to enter the housing market. Saving a down payment was listed by 47 per cent of millennials as the top issue that affects their ability to buy a home.
Researchers also asked millennials what impact recent housing policy changes had on their decisions to enter the housing market. The results were shocking, with more than 60 per cent feeling that interest rate increases and government decisions that make it more difficult for people to get a mortgage have had a negative impact on housing affordability.
There is a clear desire from Canadian millennials to achieve the dream of homeownership. Most millennials want to own a home and will be looking to our elected leaders for progressive policies to make those homes affordable.
Recently, proposals from the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS (NSAR), in conjunction with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), have been implemented by the federal government to improve affordability. In March of 2019, the Home Buyers Plan (HBP) was increased to allow first-time buyers to borrow up to $35,000 from their RRSP towards a down payment.
But more can be done to provide meaningful assistance and allow more Canadians to enter the housing market. In the 2019 election, millennial voters will make up the largest portion of the electorate at 37 per cent. With such a large portion of voters identifying as millennials, housing affordability is expected to become a prominent election issue.
That idea sits well with Nicole and Matt, who are still living in her parents basement apartment looking forward to purchasing their first home sometime very soon.
- Contributed by NSAR
NSAR is the professional association for more than 1,500 REALTORS in Nova Scotia.
Index growth slows further in January
In January the TeranetNational Bank National Composite House Price IndexTM was up 0.3% from the previous month. It was the third consecutive month in which the index rose less than the month before. The increase was led by five of the 11 constituent markets: Hamilton (2.0%), Montreal (1.0%), Victoria (0.6%), Halifax (0.4%) and Vancouver (0.4%). Rises of less than the countrywide average were reported for Quebec City (0.3%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (0.1%). Indexes were down from the month before in Toronto (0.1%), Calgary (0.2%), Edmonton (0.4%) and Winnipeg (0.4%). After three months September, October, November in which all 11 markets of the composite index were up from the month before, it was a second consecutive month in which one or more markets were down on the month.
The price rise is consistent with the rise of home sales volume over the last several months as reported by the Canadian Real Estate Association. For a fifth straight month, the number of sale pairs entering into the 11 metropolitan indexes was higher than a year earlier. The unsmoothed composite index, seasonally adjusted, was up 0.9% in January, suggesting that the published (smoothed) index could continue its uptrend.
Canadian home sales continue their momentum to start 2021
In January, Canadian home sales increased 2.0% month-on-month, building on Decembers 7.0% gain. On a year-on-year basis, they were up 35.2%.
Provincially, sales were up in 8 of 10 provinces in January, with strong gains recorded in PEI (+20.5% m/m) and Alberta (+11.9%). On the flipside, a relatively steep decline was recorded in Nova Scotia (-8.3%).
New listings dropped by 13.5% m/m in January. The combination of rising sales and falling new listings brought the months supply of inventory measure to under 1.9 months.
The national sales-to-new listings ratio also increased to 90.7% its highest level by far. Every province was in sellers territory in December, and many of those in the eastern part of Canada had ratios over 100% (Quebec: 128.3%; New Brunswick: 116.0%; Nova Scotia: 114.3% and PEI:101.5%). This means that there were more sales than new units listed last month in these provinces. This is a rare situation, but has occurred before in the Atlantic Provinces. However, January marked a first on this front in Quebec. Elsewhere, ratios were particularly elevated in Manitoba (86.1%) and Ontario (88.6).
Strong demand and historically tight conditions were reflected in prices. Indeed, Canadian average home prices surged by 4.7% m/m in January. On a year-on-year basis, they were up 22.8%, marking an acceleration from December. However, prices were up in 8 of 10 provinces during the month, with the largest gains occurring in Alberta (+8.1%) and Ontario (7.4%).
Compared with the average sales price, the MLS home price index, a more like for like measure, increased 2.0% m/m. Single family home prices rose 2.6% m/m (and a robust 17.4% y/y), whereas apartment prices advanced by a smaller 0.2% m/m (and decelerated to 3.3% y/y). In Toronto, apartment prices increased 0.4% m/m, the first gain in 4 months.
Home sales picked up right where they left off to start 2021. Demand was likely given a lift by ultra-low mortgage rates, which dropped again during the month. Januarys robust gain coupled with a strong handoff into this year virtually ensures that sales will increase in the first quarter. However, with sales likely running above fundamentally-supported levels, we think some cooling in activity will take place, especially in the second half. A dwindling supply of inventories, when benchmarked against the current sales pace, could also weigh on activity moving forward.
With todays data showing a solid gain in prices last month and new supply collapsing across nearly the entire country, markets were historically tight. This points to further strong price gains ahead in the near-term.
Also notable was that benchmark condo prices grew for the first time in several months in Toronto. Although supply remains elevated, conditions are becoming tighter than what we saw last fall. This suggests that further gains are in store.