Canadian millennials still dream of home ownership

While those who don’t own homes yet haven’t given up, they face significant hurdles

Canadian millennials still dream of home ownership
Just over a third of millennials in Canada own their own home, but the rest are still not giving up the dream, with 82% intending to buy in the next five years.

That’s just one of the important takeaways from a new global study from HSBC, titled Beyond the Bricks: the meaning of home. The independent consumer survey polled 9,000 people from different demographic segments across nine countries, including 1,000 Canadians.

“This study challenges the myth that the home ownership dream is dead for millennials – be it in Canada or around the world,” said Larry Tomei, executive vice president and head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Bank Canada.

Canadian millennials are certainly adopting a positive attitude, but there’s another question: are they effective at translating their dreams into goals?

Based on the survey, 27% of millennial non-owners who plan to purchase a home within two years have no overall budget in mind, while 53% have only set an approximate budget. In addition, 42% of millennials in Canada who purchased a home within the last two years wound up exceeding their budget.

Those who chase dreams of home ownership also face two significant hurdles: slow salary growth and rapidly rising home prices. To cope with this reality, Canadian millennials have blurred the boundaries between work and home life. Forty-eight per cent are working from home and 33% would like to – in contrast to baby boomers, among whom only 28% work from home and 18% want to.

Millennials have also adopted certain austerity measures to afford their own home. Fifty-nine per cent of millennials in Canada who are looking to buy would consider cutting back on leisure and going out, while 37% are open to getting a smaller-than-ideal space. Almost a third (30%) are prepared to put off parenthood.

Among those who have their own home, 37% have gone to their parents as a source of funding, while 21% moved back in with their parents to save for a deposit. Millennials homeowners who found that they had exceeded their budget are increasingly willing to swallow their pride and approach their parents for help.

“Despite a strong desire to take the homeownership journey, the findings also suggest that Canadian millennials face some significant barriers. … The reality is, it’s a challenge,” Tomei said.

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