Four in 10 Ontario college and university graduates don’t think they will ever achieve homeownership, according to recent polling from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).
“Whether you grew up in North Bay, Sudbury or Thunder Bay, you always believed that if you played by the rules, you got your degree, you saved a few dollars, you could buy a home in the neighbourhood at least where you grew up in,” said Tim Hudak, CEO of the OREA.
“But, sadly, with student debt loads and the cost of housing, that Canadian dream is fading away.”
A realtor quoted by CTV News said that young adults are struggling to find even rentals. Those considering buying a home encounter properties that aren’t liveable.
“If they’re buying something under $200,000, that means that it’s going to require a lot of work,” said Michelle Hagerty of the Timmins, Cochrane, Timiskaming Districts Association of Realtors.
“And they definitely don’t have the money to put into all those renovations.”
75% of graduates still express a desire to own residential property, while 80% support government intervention to address the issue of housing affordability.
Adam Haight from the Sudbury Real Estate Association advised potential buyers to look at homes with income potential, such as a multi-family unit. “Something where you can, maybe, rent out the basement or something like that, might pay off some of the debt,” he said.
Hagerty advises clients to see a mortgage agent to see what they can afford, as well as make contributions to savings — even if that extends the period over which they will repay student loans.
Polling by OREA also found that student debt is a major barrier to homeownership for young Ontario residents. According to its report, The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Homeownership, 42% of graduates are considering leaving Ontario for provinces with a lower cost of living and affordable housing.
In an earlier statement, Hudak, who led the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party from 2009–2014, praised the federal Conservative Party leader, Pierre Poilievre, for his housing plan.
“The housing plan put forward today by Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative Party of Canada is exactly what we need if we want to solve the housing affordability crisis. The plan links transit and infrastructure to housing completions, and will go a long way in bringing affordability closer to home for many Ontarians and their families,” he said.
Hudak called for cooperation between all levels of government and political parties to reach the goal of building 1.5 million more homes by 2031.