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.
Minister Morneau announces new benchmark rate for qualifying insured mortgages
For many Canadians, their home is the most important investment they will make in their lifetime. That is why the Government of Canada has introduced measures to help more Canadians achieve their housing needs while also taking measured actions to contain risks in the housing market. A stable and healthy housing market is part of a strong economy, which is vital to building and supporting a strong middle class.
Today, Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, announced changes to the benchmark rate used to determine the minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages, also known as the stress test. These changes will come into effect on April 6, 2020. The new benchmark rate will be the weekly median 5-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insurance applications, plus 2%.
This follows a recent review by federal financial agencies which concluded that the minimum qualifying rate should be more dynamic to better reflect the evolution of market conditions. Overall, the review concluded that mortgage standards are working to ensure that home buyers are able to afford their homes even if interest rates rise, incomes change, or families are faced with unforeseen expenses. This adjustment to the stress test will allow it to be more representative of the mortgage rates offered by lenders and more responsive to market conditions.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) also announced today that it is considering the same new benchmark rate to determine the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages. OSFI is seeking input from interested stakeholders on this proposal before March 17, 2020.
The Contagion of Fear
Fears of a possible coronavirus pandemic are sweeping the world. Markets are jittery with little hard data to go on.
With the first case now reported in Canada, many are recalling the 2003 SARS where Canada was one of the epicenters. Arguably the biggest (economic) lesson from that experience is that fear is the biggest risk to the outlook.
The impact of the SARS pandemic on the Canadian economy is difficult to estimate, confounded as it was by the slowing US economy, the invasion of Iraq and other events, but the Bank of Canada estimated -0.6ppt hit to annualized growth in Q2-2003, or just over 0.1% on the level of GDP.
While it is premature to predict the path of todays coronavirus outbreak, we estimate that a SARS-equivalent pandemic today could have a similar impact on the Canadian economy with an estimated hit of just over 0.1% on the level of GDP by mid-2020, at which point a pandemic should be contained. This estimate is subject to a significant degree of uncertainty with risks skewed to a potentially larger impact.
The effect should not be significant enough to trigger a broader economic malaise, but could this finally push Governor Poloz over the line to proactively stimulate the economy in his next rate call?