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Affordability hack: Half of Canadians consider alternative home buying methods

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A new trend involving non-traditional methods of home ownership has emerged for Canadians hoping to enter the housing market.

A Leger survey commissioned by RE/MAX Canada found that 50 per cent of Canadians would consider alternative methods of buying a home, and 32 per cent are currently exploring non-traditional ways due to economic factors like high cost of living and the price of housing.

Canadians are having to make sacrifices, like purchasing small condominiums or townhouses instead of a detached home, or commuting from a more affordable community.

“People are struggling to make mortgage payments. It’s a very challenging housing market,” Noam Dolgin said in an interview with CTV News.

Dolgin, a Vancouver realtor at Collaborative Home Ownership B.C., is in the business of real estate matchmaking. He connects strangers with the common goal of owning a home, but can’t do it alone.

Christian Veenstra is one of them.

Veenstra, his wife and three kids currently rent in Metro Vancouver with a roommate who is a longtime friend. Now, they’re ready to make the leap into purchasing… together.

“It feels very comfortable living with her already, and so rather than renting, I think maybe it’s time to buy," Veenstra told CTV News. "You get a lot more stability that way and your money isn’t just disappearing.”

Though Dolgin, with a specialty in co-ownership, calls it an affordability hack, he says there are more advantages than just that.

“You get access to different types of housing… single-family type homes with yards, or an acreage where you can grow food," he said. "You can get access to neighbourhoods you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in to.”

He admits, however, that sharing a home and mortgage with friends, family, or strangers, can come with legal complications. Plus, plenty of legwork to do beforehand.

“What’s your plan for delinquency? How will you protect yourself in the case that somebody loses their job, or can’t pay their bill? What’s your exit strategy? There will come a time when one party wants to leave,” Dolgin said.

According to the survey, the leading demographics considering sharing a home are people aged 18 to 34, and BIPOC Canadians.

Dolgin says doing your due diligence in a collaborative owning situation in the beginning can go a long way to prevent problems in alternative arrangements.

"We very rarely hear of them going badly."

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