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Half of Canadians under 30 have given up on owning a single-family home: survey


For the vast majority of young Canadians, the dream of owning a home is no longer a given. In fact, for many, the likelihood of becoming a homeowner is becoming a more distant prospect the older they get.

More than 80 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 28 – also known as Generation Z – worry they will not be able to afford a home in their city of choice thanks to soaring real-estate prices and increasing cost of living, according to a recent survey conducted by Sotheby’s International Realty.

Half have already given up on the dream of owning a single-family home.

Researchers with the luxury real estate brand surveyed 1,502 Gen Z Canadians living in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal as part of the survey aimed at quantifying the sentiment among the next generation of first-time homebuyers.

The top financial barrier cited by respondents was the ability to save for a down payment while managing their current living expenses – a factor that is not expected to ease thanks to rising inflation rates.

Interestingly, despite these challenges, Generation Z’s desire to own single family homes remains high, with 70 per cent reporting that they would want to purchase a single-family home in their peak earning years if budget were not a consideration.

Half of those surveyed say it’s more realistic that their first home purchase will be a higher-density housing type, such as a condo, an attached home, or a townhome. Yet still, 39 per cent report that they are most likely to buy a single-family home as their first residence.

“It is clear from our research that while rising housing affordability challenges are top-of-mind for Canada’s Generation Z homebuyers, the desire and demand for home ownership and specifically, single family home ownership, has not subsided from previous generations,” Don Kottick, President and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said in a press release.

“The older segment of this generation is now on the brink of first-time homeownership and are poised to be both an influential consumer force in the Canadian housing market, and a prominent voice in defining housing needs in our communities.”

National home sales in Canada set a new annual record this year, rising 8.6 per cent from September to October.

The total sale of single family one-storey and two-storey homes, as well as townhouses and apartments, saw month-over-month increases across about three-quarters of all local markets, including all major Canadian cities, marking the largest month-over-month growth since July 2020.

But, according to the MLS Home Price Index, year-over-year Canadian home price levels have seen a growth of 23.4 per cent.

To put that in context, if you were to do a like-for-like comparison of houses, a four-bedroom house in a suburb of a typical Canadian city has gone up by 20 per cent in the past year.

And, according to Re/Max's housing market outlook report published last week, housing prices are expected to increase steadily in 2022, with a short supply of homes many popular regions pushing up costs further.


The results of Sotheby’s survey show that Calgary and Montreal are attracting first-time home buyers from other major Canadian cities and retaining locals of the same age group thanks to comparatively affordable real estate prices and strong job markets.

Of all the cities included in the survey, Calgary’s Generation Z adults were among the most optimistic about their prospects of home ownership, and the most confident in their ability to specifically purchase a single-family home.

With single family home prices averaging $540,900 in Calgary, a fraction of that in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where average prices have increased to $1,540,432, and Metro Vancouver, where benchmark prices have surged to $1,850,500, those in Calgary the most confident in their dream of owning a single-family home.

In Montreal, 79 per cent of respondents think they will afford a primary residence in the city in their lifetime, with 57 per cent reporting that they are “very likely” to do so.

Interestingly, despite steep price gains, 15 per cent of Vancouver-area Gen Z adults already own their primary residence, the highest rate among Gen Z’s in Canada’s largest metropolitan areas.

However, 82 per cent of Vancouverites who have not yet purchased their first home are worried that they will not be able to in their community of choice due to escalating real estate prices.

Fifty-two per cent of Toronto residents surveyed do not believe they will ever buy a single-family home – a figure higher than in Montreal and Calgary, but lower than in Vancouver.

Despite high prices and a red-hot market, the report indicates that over 70 per cent of young Toronto buyers remain optimistic, but half of those surveyed say that their first home will most likely be a higher-density housing type.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents reported that their first home purchase will likely be a condominium, while 18 per cent said that their first home will be an attached home/townhouse and seven per cent said that their first home purchase will be a duplex/triplex.

- With files from Jennifer Ferreira, Anthony Vasquez-Peddie and CTV Toronto Top Stories

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