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.
Scotiabank: Why Canada needs to focus on ways to encourage more home building
The recent run-up in housing prices, and the attendant worries about affordability and accessibility, have many stakeholders scrambling to find quick solutions. While understandable, those approaches are likely to have only minimal impacts on Canadas housing situation and its consequences for people looking for a reasonably priced place to live. Focusing on interest rate policy or macroprudential instruments, such as stricter mortgage stress tests, draws attention away from the underlying cause of the problem: the inability of supply to meet demand. Put simply, this country doesnt build enough housing. We should not be surprised by this. Canada has increased immigration dramatically in recent years to tremendous benefit to the economy, but we failed to pro-actively address the housing challenges the consequent population boom was sure to bring. Policy efforts must focus far more on anticipatory, collaborative, multistakeholder and very specific solutions to the housing situation rather than on the short-term and ultimately ineffective macroprudential Band-Aids applied in recent years. Scotiabank Economics is publishing research this week looking at the increase in Canadas housing stock relative to the increase in population over the past several years to get a sense of how effective we have been in creating new units. The numbers are not encouraging. One way to look at it is by using the ratio of new housing to population growth. By that measure, construction has been well below its historical average since mid-2017. That is perhaps not surprising, given that Canada has seen an immigration-fuelled population boom since 2015. In the three years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, population grew nearly twice as fast as new housing units were being built. That ratio improved somewhat with the COVID-related stall in immigration, but it is likely to reverse course once immigration returns to planned levels.
Dan Rees is group head, Canadian banking at the Bank of Nova Scotia. Jean-Franois Perrault is Scotiabanks chief economist
Two-thirds of Canadians were asset resilient in the year prior to the pandemic
Just over two-thirds (67.1%) of Canadians were asset resilient for at least three months in 2019, up from 63.6% in 1999.
Over these two decades, several factors contributed to the overall rate of asset resilience. For one thing, Canadians held more liquid assets at the end of the period. Median person-adjusted household liquid assets rose from $6,300 in 1999 to $10,700 in 2019. Canadians were also slightly older, on averagethe median age of Canadians increased from 36.4 years to 40.8 years. Family income has also been rising since 1999, and asset resilience is associated with higher income. The median person-adjusted, household after-tax income of Canadians increased by one-third (+34.9%), rising from $37,300 in 1999 to $50,300 in 2019, while the share of Canadians below the LIM-AT edged down from 12.4% to 12.1%.