Four in 10 parents of young Ontario homeowners gave a financial assist

OREA poll reveals Ontario parents feel that buying a home today is more difficult than it was before

Four in 10 parents of young Ontario homeowners gave a financial assist

With housing affordability continues to be a top issue in Ontario, a new survey reveals that the pursuit of homeownership among young people in the province is also having an impact on older generations.

In the Housing Affordability in Ontario: Perceptions, Impacts, and Solutions (Wave 2) survey, conducted by Abacus Data for OREA, four out of 10 parents of young, homeowner adults (ages 18–38) said they helped their child financially with the purchase.

Among all the parents polled, nearly 90% felt that buying a home today is more difficult than it was when they were their children's age.

Focusing on those that helped their children, 44% said they used their own general funds to support their child's ambition, while 15% used their own retirement savings or investments. Those who loaned money lent an average of $40,878, while those who gave money averaged $73,605.

Moreover, 91% of parents of young adults who do not own property believe it is crucial for their children to be able to buy a home in the future. These parents agree that buying a home now is more difficult than it was when they were in their twenties, citing high housing prices (88%) and the difficulty of saving for a down payment (49%) as the major contributing causes.

They also identified less secure employment market, higher school prices, and fewer homes being created as contributing factors.

OREA CEO Tim Hudak said, “Parents are becoming increasingly worried that their children may not be able to achieve the dream of home ownership, so they are pulling out all the stops to help them get their foot in the market. Ontario’s parents have seen first-hand the benefits of homeownership on neighborhoods: it fosters vibrant and stable communities, improves quality of life, and has been the bulwark of Canada’s middle class for generations, so it is not surprising that they want the same for their children.”

That sentiment was prevalent across the province. Regardless of age, 92% of Ontarians feel that everything possible should be done to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to purchase a house as previous generations. The stakes are high if Ontario gets it wrong, with 80% of Ontarians say that rising housing costs are making the province a less appealing place to live and work.

“We are in a housing affordability crisis being driven by severe lack of supply, and increased demand, especially around ‘missing middle’ type properties,” Hudak said, warning that the crisis could lead to “brain drain” and reduced economic competitiveness in the province. “To bring affordability home for young Ontarians, we need to continually increase housing supply and choice in the market, across the province.”

Ontario has significantly increased the amount of new housing starts, as it recently recorded the highest level of housing starts in over two decades. Still, Ontarians want to see more political attention on housing affordability. Three fourths of survey respondents (76%) believe housing affordability should be a high priority for the Ontario government, but feel it is currently a moderate to low priority.

The Ontario Government's Housing Affordability Task Force has proposed that the province aim to build 1.5 million houses in the next decade by boosting density in urban and suburban areas, as well as revising municipalities' development approvals procedures.