Cost of homes driving young people away

September 8, 2021   ·   0 Comments


It’s been said that most of us are born, live and die within a 300-kilometre radius.
For me, that’s definitely true, being born and bred right here in the GTA.
And it’s true for many of my peers, except one who found his calling south of the border.
Working, living, getting married and finding a home all seemed fairly straightforward for my generation. My wife and I were pretty lucky to get into the housing market when we did, and we were fortunate to have help from her parents and mine.
Recently, our kids have found old photos of our former first home, an end-unit townhouse in Bolton. They enjoyed the “quaint” home. Even they question the need of such a large subdivision home and the burdens it brings.
Unlike our parents, becoming mortgage-free will only be possible through down-sizing and moving far away.
Our situation is not unlike many others in Ontario. And it pales in comparison to the challenges ahead for new home buyers, and the next generation of young adults.
A recent survey indicated that almost half of prospective home buyers under 45 are considering moving out of Ontario because they can’t afford a home here.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) poll shows Ontarians feel housing affordability in the province is getting worse and the future is not looking better for homeownership.
The Housing Affordability in Ontario: Perceptions, Impacts, And Solutions report found that 46% of prospective home buyers under the age of 45 have considered or are considering moving out of the province to afford a home, while 33% under the age of 29 are definitely (11%) or very likely (22%) to buy outside of Ontario.
More than half of these aspiring buyers (56%) are pessimistic about the possibility of buying a home in the community they want to live in. Not addressing the housing supply shortage could have a detrimental effect on Ontario’s competitiveness and ability to retain talent.
“The lack of housing supply is leading many to look outside the province for their first homes and that will make it difficult to retain and attract talent in Ontario in the near future,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “The Government of Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Act is an excellent first step but if we want to reverse this brain drain, municipalities also need to deliver by opening up more housing opportunities.”
A majority of Ontarians feel that housing affordability should be a very high (31%) or a high (36%) priority for the Government of Ontario.
The majority (68%) agree that there are things the Ontario government could do to make the housing market more affordable. The ideas they support include:
• Introducing tax credits and incentives for homeowners to make improvements in their homes or improve energy efficiency (90%).
• Making it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the market by increasing first-time home buyer tax rebates (89%).
“Governments need to act if we want to create future generations of homeowners and that starts with pro-growth policies that could bring affordability closer to first-time home buyers and address the supply shortage,” Hudak added.
The poll also shows Ontarians agree that the housing sector can be the engine for Ontario’s economic recovery. Almost half of Ontarians believe that residential construction will be key to economic growth and job creation when the pandemic is over.
This dilemma is prevalent and is only the first step. Getting into the market – taking this huge financial leap of faith – is only the beginning.
It’s the start of a life-long journey of homeownership challenges that include insurance, utility rates, property taxes, home improvements, lawn care, neighbours and yes, Christmas decorations!
Home ownership takes the biggest bite of our income and many of us are slaves to our own real estate, our tiny piece of “paradise.”
When we North Americans created the term “keeping up the Joneses,” we unleashed a monster, and set in motion an unending desire to obtain our dream home, complete with white picket fence.
Maybe this was easy in the 1950s and 1960s when homes rang in at under $50,000 and low-interest mortgage payments could be stretched over 30-year terms.
I know my parents didn’t have much trouble making their payments. Groceries, gas and all other necessities were reasonable, or at least affordable.
Today, a litre of gas costs upwards of $1.40. Hydro and natural gas rate are their highest in history. Property taxes are also quite high in the GTA, equivalent to a monthly car payment. Driving a car in this province is becoming cost-prohibitive.
We are a society of money-poor homeowners, whose take-home pay is dwindling due to a skyrocketing cost of living.
While I sympathize with prospective home-buyers, owning a home may be the least of our worries.
The changing society, pandemic impacts, a sluggish economy and world unrest is here. The skies are gloomy for many reasons.
With good, stable careers, our kids may very well be able to buy a condo or townhome one day.
But time is ticking and the clock never stops.
If they end up living in our basement for an extended period of time, so be it. The more the merrier.
For those who struggle with home ownership, the only advice I can give is save, combine finances, beg and borrow a downpayment. Get in the market as soon as you can, even if the home is not your “dream home.”



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