5 questions a millennial has before diving into the housing market

The housing market doesn't make life any easier for millennials. When you're trying to gain a little independence, it can be impossible in these conditions.
The housing market can be unkind to millennials. For those looking to gain a little independence, it can largely be impossible in these conditions.

Life is hard, and millennials have got it tough.

Social media took over our childhood and adolescence, we never got to play outside as much as our parents did because the world became a much more dangerous place, and we have far lower attention spans than the generations before us. But perhaps the toughest thing about being a millennial are the obstacles we face trying to enter the housing market.

With so many issues and considerations to ponder, here are 5 questions a twenty-something has about buying a house or condo:

Should I buy or rent?

This is the first question, and probably the most important one. Should you put your money into real estate as an investment? Many baby boomers who bought their homes decades ago for $350,000 are now seeing their properties fetch $2 million.

Or should you rent? That’s less money upfront but essentially you’re throwing upwards of $2,000 a month away, with no return in the end. In a hot, but possibly-finally-cooling market, however, renting could be considered a better option. You can have a roof over your head until the market balances out, and not be stuck in a condo you aren’t completely happy with, and one for which you likely overpaid.

If I buy will the market be hot when I’m ready to sell?

If buying seems like a better option because you want an investment, you’re at the mercy of the market. Will you lose thousands of dollars at the end? Will the investment be worth it down the road if the market cools down completely? There’s no sense in tearing your hair out pondering this unknown fact. It’s just a risk you must be willing to take.

Will interest rates go up?

You may be purchasing a house you one day won’t even be able to afford because interest rates climb too high. Cash will already be tight while carrying the mortgage. If rates increase it will only become tighter — or downright unaffordable. And let’s face it, life is always throwing curve balls at you. A tight pocketbook won’t be what you need during a career change, when your car suddenly breaks down, or when you have children to support.

Is it weird to ask my girlfriend/boyfriend to move in with me only so we can split the rent/mortgage?

Yes. You probably shouldn’t move in with someone strictly for financial help. Doing so could be detrimental to your relationship. You’re better off rooming with a friend — no, you are not too old for a roommate.

On second (or 5th) thought …

Maybe I’ll just stay with my parents.

News reports say that one of the most common reasons young adults stay at home is to save money for a down payment (especially in Toronto and Vancouver markets).

This is probably the most responsible financial decision you can make at this point. Think about the money you can save; the only price you pay is your independence.

As millennials we may need to get rid of our need for instant gratification.

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