Housing now dominates the mental landscapes of Canadian millennials

by Ephraim Vecina26 Jul 2019

For nearly two-thirds of Canadian millennials, anxieties regarding real estate colour not just their fiscal plans but also their relationship prospects.

The HSBC-sponsored Beyond the Bricks annual survey, which asked 1,077 Canadians about their viewpoints toward home ownership, found that as much as 61% of the young adult cohort had serious housing worries.

“The anxiety millennials (and others) feel is justified. Close to 70% of Canadians own their home but less than 30% do so without a mortgage,” HSBC Bank Canada senior vice president Barry Gollom said.

Many Canadian millennials now consider shared financial (39% of respondents) or property (33%) goals as more important criteria than physical appearance when it comes to potential romantic partners.

Moreover, members of the demographic were 16% more likely to stay in bad relationships due to property, compared to the overall Canadian average of 6%.

Among those who have found their preferred partners, 62.8% said that their last house move was due to finances. These considerations included getting more value for money (25.5%) and relocating to a market with a lower cost of living (23.4%).

The prevalence of housing in Canadian millennials’ plans and worldviews will likely intensify, as the demographic continues to suffer from static incomes and high living costs.

According to the non-profit housing advocacy organization Generation Squeeze, Canada’s young adults take an average of 13 years to save for 20% on a median-priced home, while their parents needed just around five years to do so in 1976.

“It’s crushing those who walk in their footsteps,” lead author and University of British Columbia policy professor Paul Kershaw said earlier this year.

Kershaw added that true housing affordability can be reached only if average earnings double (up to $93,400 annually), or if average home prices declined by half (a reduction of approximately $223,000).


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