Millennials look at new routes to home ownership

First-time home buyers - millennials
Home ownership is important to Canadian millennials, but it won’t be easy.

Here’s a heads-up for millennials. Not only is it challenging for you to find decent work these days, but you’re also going to have problems buying your own home. Why? The biggest reason is student debt.

You’re also looking at a housing market that requires larger down payments and has higher property taxes due to rising prices. Couple the mortgage payment with a payment on a student loan, and the affordability factor gets hit out of the ballpark.

Not only that, it might be tricky for millennials to get a mortgage loan because the guidelines have tightened. With all that going on, millennials, who are in the 18-34 age range, still find home ownership appealing. Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) polled 2,000 Canadians, of which 540 were millennials, across the country to get their feedback about the mortgage industry, mortgage brokers and the housing market in general.

Not surprisingly, millennials see the housing market quite differently than older consumers and are developing new strategies for home ownership. For example, during these times of high prices, three-quarters of millennials believe that renting out a part of their home to afford mortgage payments is a good strategy. Now considered the “new normal,” generating income from a property is of increasing importance these days, whether as a direct investment or to help pay off their mortgage. Further, 6 in 10 would consider buying a home with relatives to help with the payments.

These strategies are not unusual. Many boomers were helped by their own parents with the down payment on their first home purchase. However, in today’s market, it’s more like a race — save for a down payment, then try to buy something before prices are unreachable.

BMO’s Annual Millennial Home Buyer Survey found that 44 per cent of young home buyers expect their families to contribute some or all the down payment.

The main source of income is still personal savings — 60 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 will dive into their personal savings. Nineteen per cent will look to family members for down payment support. And 12 per cent will consider withdrawing from their RRSPs.

A 2016 poll by CIBC found that home ownership is important to young buyers, like most Canadians. According to the poll a whopping 85 per cent view home ownership as a priority, although on average they were a bit surprised that costs were slightly more than they expected.

Working with a bank or working with a mortgage professional is almost equal, with 33 per cent using their usual bank and 29 per cent getting a referral from family and friends as well as realtors for a mortgage professional. A mortgage professional can aid in finding the best rate, offer multiple quotes and help with the paperwork.

Affordability is the key for millennials and in Ontario they are getting a bit of help. The government is doubling the rebate on the land transfer tax for first-time home buyers to $4,000.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said first-time home buyers won’t pay any land transfer tax on the first $368,000 of a purchase price, calling the rebates an “incentive” for would-be homeowners.

The Ontario Real Estate Association said the increased rebates of the land transfer tax will help more young families achieve their dreams of home ownership.

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