Brian O'Donoghue

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Canada’s Gen Z shows surprising optimism when it comes to owning a home according to a new survey out of Vancouver. Gen Z (born 1997- 2012) is all too aware of pressing affordability challenges in major Canadian cities, notably Toronto and Vancouver. The survey results showed that 75% of urban Gen Z intend to own a primary residence in their lifetimes, with 11% already having done so. Moreover, while 82% of respondents expressed uneasiness about being priced out of their desired neighbourhoods, 70% want to purchase a single-family home during their peak-income earning years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, saving enough money for a down payment and considering other living expenses remains the major concern of more than a quarter of Gen Z respondents.

According to the survey, 50% had given up on the dream of owning a single-family home, but one of the things we must realize is this demographic is just coming into the workforce and starting to accumulate assets, and the interesting thing is 11% have already bought a home, so over time their earning potential will increase. Adding to that Gen Z is on the cusp of receiving a massive generational wealth transfer from their parents. So, economically, their buying potential will only improve over time.

In Toronto, 73% of Gen Z reported aspirations to own a primary residence, while 46% are “very likely” to, 28% are “somewhat likely” to, and 11% already do. But 84% of respondents who haven’t bought a home are worried they won’t be able to in their communities of choice because of surging price points, with fewer than half of this group “very worried,” according to the survey.

More than the other metropolitan areas surveyed, Toronto received the largest share of Gen Z respondents who said that current living expenses are the biggest hurdle to saving enough money for a down payment on a home. Additionally, 18% of respondents reported student loan payments were a big barrier. Owning a single-family home was also more pronounced among survey respondents in Toronto than in the other cities surveyed, with 72% declaring they would like to own one during their peak earning years, while 13% and 11% respectively preferred an attached home and a condo, and 3% stating that they want to own a duplex or triplex unit.

But 52% of respondents in the GTA have abandoned aspirations to own a detached home because the average price of which is now $1,540,432. Still, 38% of the city’s Gen Z respondents believe their first home will be a single-family dwelling.


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