Mortgage or Avocados? That’s truly the theme baby boomers love the most, isn’t it? The societal standard of financial stability versus the incredulous self-indulgences of Millennials. A home to start a family, plant roots and nurture personal growth, or finding new places to spend a paycheck in hopes of getting a double tap on and endless Instagram feed of brunch snapshots and celebrity pets?
Not to break the baby boomers’ bubble, but according to The Toronto Star, “eight in 10 [millennials] consistently say that home ownership is important to them, real estate is a good investment, and owning a home gives them a sense of pride.” Yet a study by global bank HSBC quoted by Huffington Post shows that Canadian Millennials are less likely to own a home than the Millennials in nine other countries – including the USA.
That sounds a little unbalanced, right?
Even so, with proper savings and careful financing it should be a no brainer to put together the funds for a down payment, right? It has to be the fault of millennial tendencies of self-indulgence and laziness that comes with being attached to a screen keeping them from achieving the white picket fence that 8/10 said they dream of.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the sudden inflation in housing prices sweeping the GTA? Just in the past year housing prices jumped $181 709 in the Toronto area. Unfortunately, the wage growth hasn’t quite kept up. It’s more or less glitched and is stuck running in its place while other aspects of life are already on the second lap. In fact, “affordability in Toronto is at a 25-year low.”
Sadly for the bitter baby boomers stuck on the “I worked part time during college and paid my way” mentality (in other words the “refusing to look at present issues” mentality) the Globe and Mail calculated that it would take 33.2 orders per day for a whole year of $15 slices avocado toast to catch up to the 100K+ jump in Toronto housing.
So, it’s not the avocado toast and the housing market is looking like the financial equivalent of scaling the CN Tower. What’s a Millennial to do? No one wants to be giving off the student loan debt vibe during a sushi Tinder date in their late twenties.
The obvious answer to fitting the successful adult image?
Ask Mom for an allowance.
45% of Millennial home buyers were gifted cash or financial loans from family, 1/3 getting more than $25 000 according to a survey quoted by The Globe and Mail. But does that really solve the problem? And what about those whose parents can’t afford to drop $25K?
Unfortunately, the only way we’re going to see any positive change in the situation is to wait for the government to fix these five points as suggested by The Toronto Star: Diversify the growth plan, speed up approvals, differentiate the housing market, frame the infrastructure foundations, and everyone’s favourite: cut down on taxes – specifically those for land transfer.
What would these suggestions accommodate, exactly?
In terms of the growth plan, Ontario wants to treat the province as it would Toronto – rather than diversifying according to location and population. Speeding up approvals is pretty self-explanatory, as currently the government can take up to a (literal) decade to get a single plan approved.
In terms of our housing market, it’s sort of like going to a gourmet ice cream store and being told they only have chocolate and vanilla. Where’s the mint chip? The moose tracks? The multi-unit homes and mid-rises? We want options!
The provincial government is fond of blanketing singular ideals over all of Ontario, rather than focusing on targeted infrastructure investments. So, even though the location plans in the GTHA have been created for over the next ten years, the people involved in the next step aren’t getting the message.
In terms of taxes, simply put, homeowners in the city are making due with what they have rather than finding a larger home or downsizing according to their needs because of the high tax. The less people move out, the less people can move in.
With a government that takes up to 10 years for a plan to get approved, it’s not likely that these changes will happen within the under 35s prime years. For Millennials that can’t balance the pocket money from Mom and a mortgage, and for those that can’t get any allowance at all, unfortunately they may have to look into other endeavours that suit their lifestyle.