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From a Studio Apartment to a Large Detached Home:
What the Average Peak Millennial Can Afford Across Canada

  • The average Canadian peak millennial’s purchasing power dropped by approximately 16.5% ($40,103) after the introduction of the OSFI stress test
  • Peak millennials can expect 12% less living space on average in Greater Vancouver compared to last year
  • The footprint of a typical peak millennial property grew in the Greater Toronto Area as properties affordable to this demographic continued to move away from the city centre
  • A peak millennial can purchase a home in Moncton, New Brunswick for the cost of the 20 per cent down payment on a home in the market segment accessible to them in the Greater Toronto Area or Greater Vancouver 

TORONTO, April 26, 2018 – According to Royal LePage, Canada’s leading real estate services provider, peak millennials[1] are seeing significant disparities in the properties they can afford in the country’s largest cities. With a median salary of $38,148[2], this generation typically has a maximum home buying budget of $203,246[3]. This factors in a 20 per cent down payment, and the impact of OSFI’s new stress test, which has reduced the average peak millennial’s purchasing power by approximately 16.5 per cent, or $40,103. However, given that the aggregate Canadian home value currently rests at $605,512[4], many must either bide their time or look for creative solutions to finance a home purchase.

In major cities across Canada, a growing number of peak millennials will save, pool their money with a partner and/or borrow funds from their parents, many of whom are downsizing in retirement and can financially contribute to their child’s first home purchase. While peak millennials are largely able to afford their monthly mortgage expenses, coming up with an adequate down payment often proves to be the greatest hurdle to homeownership among the demographic. In areas with high home values, like Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, a 20 per cent down payment often equates to over $160,000, or roughly the same price as a home in Moncton, New Brunswick.

“We have seen a rare pause this year in the relentless rise in the cost of housing,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “For peak millennials, the group which makes up the bulk of our first time homebuyers, the path to property ownership has been a challenging one.” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “In our largest cities, it is difficult for young people to purchase a home on a single household income. Some will purchase homes with family or friends, and some are following the age-old practice of saving money and waiting until they can effectively double their maximum budget with a life partner.”

When combined, a dual income peak millennial couple has a typical maximum budget of $406,479, exclusive of any help from the bank of mom and dad. In the first quarter of 2018, the average Canadian home listed between $325,000 to $425,000 (the price range of homes accessible to this dual-income demographic, with the higher end often receiving some financial assistance from their families) had 2.7 bedrooms, 1.8 bathrooms and 1,269 sq. ft. of living space. When broken out by region, homes listed between $325,000 to $425,000 in Greater Vancouver had an average of 1.5 bedrooms and 1.2 bathrooms, while homes in the Greater Montreal Area and the Greater Toronto Area offered peak millennial purchasers an average of 2.9 and 1.7 bedrooms and 1.5 and 1.4 bathrooms, respectively. Meanwhile, on the east coast, Halifax delivered the biggest bang for a peak millennial’s buck, offering them an average of 3.1 bedrooms and 3.0 bathrooms. In fact, of the seven cities studied across Canada, the region offered the most living space overall for prospective peak millennial purchasers, with homes in this price range averaging 1,736 sq. ft. In contrast, Greater Vancouver offered prospective peak millennial purchasers the least amount of living space with an average of 788 sq. ft.

“There are striking differences in the options available to peak millennial purchasers across Canada,” continued Soper. “While $425,000 will largely net an entry-level condo in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, on the east coast, this budget unlocks the majority of the market, offering prospective millennial purchasers large, detached homes with all of the bells and whistles.”

Individual Peak Millennial Purchasing Power with an Annual Salary of $38,148

 Before Stress TestAfter Stress TestAbsolute ChangePercentage Change
Qualifying Interest Rate3.09%5.14%2.05%66.3%
Maximum Purchase Price$243,349$203,246-$40,103-16.5%
Maximum Mortgage$194,679$162,596-$32,083
Associated 20% Down Payment$48,670$40,649-$8,021

 

Peak Millennial Couple’s Purchasing Power with a Combined Annual Salary of $76,296

 Before Stress TestAfter Stress TestAbsolute ChangePercentage Change
Qualifying Interest Rate3.09%5.14%2.05%66.3%
Maximum Purchase Price$486,674$406,479-$80,195-16.5%
Maximum Mortgage$389,340$325,183-$64,157
Associated 20% Down Payment$97,334$81,296-$16,038

Aggregate & Regional Home Attributes for Homes Between $325,000 and $425,000

(For the three-month period ended March 31st)

CityYearBedsBathsLiving Space
Canada20172.71.81,308 sq. ft.
20182.71.81,269 sq. ft.
Halifax20173.12.41,787 sq. ft.
20183.13.01,736 sq. ft.
Ottawa20173.02.21,487 sq. ft.
20182.92.31,495 sq. ft.
Calgary20172.62.01,195 sq. ft.
20182.62.11,210 sq. ft.
Regina20172.92.01,356 sq. ft.
20183.01.71,341 sq. ft.
Winnipeg20173.02.01,482 sq. ft.
20183.02.01,413 sq. ft.
Greater Montreal Area20173.11.71,468 sq. ft.
20182.91.51,344 sq. ft.
Greater Toronto Area20171.61.4816 sq. ft.
20181.71.4856 sq. ft.
Greater Vancouver20171.71.4878 sq. ft.
20181.51.2788 sq. ft.

 

City Summaries and Trends

Greater Vancouver

Welcher_Av_PortCoquilam_April_2018

310-2231 Welcher Avenue, Port Coquitlam, BC • $399,900

Listing Agent: Brandon Larson, Royal LePage West Real Estate Services

Bedrooms: 1

Bathrooms: 1

Living Area: 680 sq. ft.

In Greater Vancouver, Canada’s most expensive market, high home values have pushed many peak millennials into the suburbs, like Coquitlam, Langley and Surrey, or further east into Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack where properties are even more affordable. Over the last year, high rates of price appreciation and heightened competition over listings within the region’s entry level market have made it difficult for peak millennials to find property, especially in the downtown core. At the time this release was written, only five active listings in Vancouver proper were available for purchase between $325,000 and $425,000.

In the first quarter of 2018, purchasers within the region got significantly less home relative to all other regions studied, with a $325,000 to $425,000 budget buying an average of 1.5 bedrooms, 1.2 bathrooms and 788 sq. ft. of living space.

“As prices continue to grow across Greater Vancouver, peak millennials have found it hard to find a home,” said Adil Dinani, real estate advisor, Royal LePage West Real Estate Services. “New mortgage regulations have weakened this demographic’s purchasing power, making it tougher to compete with other buyers who now find themselves in the entry-level market as well.

“When coupled with entry-level home prices, which now rival most two-storey values in other parts of the country, and are continuing to rise thanks to the region’s strong economy, these purchasers are trying everything they can to get into the market before prices move out of their reach,” concluded Dinani. “From what we are observing, the majority of purchasers within this age range are getting assistance from their families to find enough money for a down payment on a starter home.”

Calgary

Auburn_Crest_Lane_Calgary_April_2018

16 Auburn Crest Lane SE, Calgary, AB • $410,000

Listing Agent: Laura Kitchen, Royal LePage Solutions

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 2+1

Living Area: 1,095 sq. ft. 

Across the mountains in Calgary, peak millennial purchasers fared significantly better than their Greater Vancouver counterparts when looking for a home between $325,000 and $425,000. On average in Calgary, this budget bought a 2.6 bedroom, 2.1 bathroom single-family home during first quarter of 2018 with 1,210 sq. ft. of living space.

Recently, the region’s improving economy and relatively less expensive home prices have enticed many peak millennial purchasers from British Columbia into its residential real estate market in search of affordable property. Together with native Calgarians, these prospective homeowners tended to search for property in the region’s suburban markets in order to find larger, fully upgraded two-storey homes.

“While many Canadians left Alberta during the province’s economic downturn in search of jobs, the region’s recent economic uptick has enticed a growing number of B.C. residents to move to Calgary to take advantage of affordable home prices,” said Dawn Maser, realtor, Royal LePage Benchmark.

“For the most part, peak millennial purchasers are choosing to live farther from downtown Calgary strictly due to affordability,” continued Maser. “This demographic typically desires spacious, fully upgraded homes that they can grow into and raise a family. Many are willing to give up proximity to the downtown core for a backyard and amenities that make family life easier.”

Regina

Canuck_Crescent_Regina_April_2018

5232 Canuck Crescent, Regina, SK • $407,900

Listing Agent: Aideen Zareh, Royal LePage Regina Realty

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3

Living Area: 1,546 sq. ft.

Despite the region’s great affordability relative to other markets studied across Canada, peak millennial purchasers are increasingly looking for family assistance to purchase a home in Regina, in part due to its muted, but recovering economy.

Although many have saved enough money to cover a down payment on an entry level home, to qualify for a mortgage under newly introduced regulations, peak millennial purchasers have had to increasingly get family members to cosign their mortgages in order to get approved.

“While peak millennials in Regina are often able to save up enough money for a down payment on a home, mom and dad must often pitch in and guarantee their loan to ensure that repayment obligations will be met,” said Brin Werrett, realtor, Royal LePage Regina Realty. “Even though these purchasers can afford a single-family detached property in the region, the majority opt for a smaller, attached starter home so that they can keep up with mortgage payments and still have a high quality of life. This also provides peace of mind if interest rates increase.”

During the first quarter of 2018, a peak millennial’s budget of $325,000 to $425,000, bought them a single-family home with 3.0 bedrooms, 1.7 bathrooms and 1,341 sq. ft. of living space in the region.

Winnipeg

Wellington_Cres_Winnipeg_April_2018

1-116 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, MB • $414,900

Listing Agent: Sebastian Sotello, Royal LePage Prime Real Estate

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 2+1

Living Area: 2,400 sq. ft.

Peak millennials in the Winnipeg real estate market continue to face strong competition for available property in the region, with many homes in the entry-level market garnering multiple offers and selling above their asking price. While couples can largely afford more than the average home found within the region, many have elected to look to lower-priced segments to ensure a high quality of life instead of large monthly payments.

Another growing trend in the region is the increase in the number of young, professional women who are becoming sole property owners.

“Unlike most other major markets in Canada, peak millennials are often able to afford a property within the region on their own,” said Liz Taylor, alternate broker, Royal LePage Prime Real Estate. “With some of the most affordable homes in the country, and a strong, stable economy, the region continues to attract new peak millennial buyers.”

“Even when facing stiff competition, peak millennials fare extremely well in Winnipeg’s residential real estate market,” concluded Taylor.

During the first quarter of 2018, Winnipeg’s residential real estate market continued to offer peak millennials considerable value relative to other regions studied. With a budget between $325,000 and $425,000, these purchasers were able to find a home with an average of 1,413 sq. ft. of living space, 3.0 bedrooms and 2.0 bathrooms.

Greater Toronto Area

Lakeshore_West_Toronto_April_2018

302-3069 Lakeshore Boulevard West, Toronto, ON • $410,000

Listing Agent: Cynthia Jones, Royal LePage Signature Realty

Bedrooms: 1

Bathrooms: 1

Living Area: 778 sq. ft.

Peak millennials are finding it harder to purchase property in the Greater Toronto Area, as competition and price appreciation in the entry-level segment continues to intensify despite other housing segments witnessing some price softness. Recently, younger prospective homeowners have begun to either look to pre-construction units, or areas outside of the metropolitan area in order to break into the market. While having to either wait, or simply change some of their initial expectations, these actions can be seen as a direct result of many feeling that, if they don’t buy now, entry-level home values may continue to rise completely out of their reach.

“Despite the Greater Toronto Area residential real estate market largely slowing since the beginning of the year, entry-level properties continue to trade hands, as new mortgage regulations have pushed many into the segment, increasing competition amongst buyers,” said Tom Storey, sales representative, Royal LePage Signature Realty. “Overall, the new stress test has severely impacted peak millennial purchasers. With added competition, and a shortage of inventory driving prices up, it is getting harder and harder for peak millennials to pass the stress test and find affordable property.

“Now, we’re seeing many younger purchasers look to regions like Halton, Waterloo or London for affordable property, or simply buy pre-construction condominium units in hopes that they will be able to qualify for a mortgage once it is needed down the road,” concluded Storey.

During the first quarter of 2018, peak millennial purchasers with a budget of $325,000 to $425,000 bought a home with an average of 1.7 bedrooms, 1.4 bathrooms and 856 sq. ft. of living space. Of particular interest, the average GTA-based home’s square footage in this segment increased year-over-year, growing from 816 sq. ft. in the first quarter of 2017. This is a result of many condominiums in the downtown core surpassing $425,000, making larger properties in the north end of the Greater Toronto Area the preeminent housing stockfound in this price range.

Ottawa

Regatta_Av_Ottawa_April_20181

2465 Regatta Avenue, Ottawa, ON • $419,900

Listing Agent: James Dean, Royal LePage Team Realty

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 2+1

Living Area: 2,121 sq. ft.

Contrary to peak millennials in the Greater Toronto Area, those in Ottawa fare extremely well when searching for property in the region. Boasting a median aggregate home price of $437,243 during the first quarter of 2018, properties within the region remain relatively affordable, offering peak millennials a chance to enter the market at an early age. With strong economic growth and ample job prospects, younger purchasers are largely able to afford the majority of homes in the region, yet seek out properties at lower price points to ensure that they can still enjoy a relatively high quality of life despite the new monthly expenses associated with homeownership.

On average, during the first quarter of 2018, peak millennial purchasers within the region could afford to buy an attached, single-family home with 2.9 bedrooms, 2.3 bathrooms and 1,495 sq. ft of living space.

“Recently, we’ve seen greater demand from peak millennials in the Ottawa residential real estate market thanks to the region’s booming tech sector,” said Adam Mills, broker of record, Royal LePage Team Realty Adam Mills, Brokerage. “Purchasers within this age range are generally looking for move-in ready homes that require little to no renovations and are within a reasonable distance from work and local amenities.

“Despite the availability of larger, detached homes in the rural areas just outside of Ottawa, many younger prospective homebuyers simply remain uninterested in sacrificing commute time and proximity to amenities for more space at the end of the day,” concluded Mills.

Greater Montreal Area

StAndre_St_Montreal_April_2018

4018 St-André St., Montreal, QC • $415,000

Listing Agent: Dean McKay, Royal LePage Privilège

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 1

Living Area: 1,083 sq. ft.

Recently, peak millennials have begun to find it hard to find property in the Greater Montreal Area, as heightened competition, multiple offers and low inventory levels have pushed prices beyond their means. As a result, an emerging trend is that these prospective homebuyers are seeking financial assistance from family members more often to avoid resetting expectations on their first home.

“As home values appreciate faster than peak millennials are able to save, many purchasers within this demographic are waiting on the sidelines in order to combine their income with a potential life partner, or are asking their parents for help,” said David Tardif, real estate broker, Royal LePage Altitude. “Now more than ever, parents are jumping in to help their children build their savings and access the housing market to ensure that they aren’t completely left behind. This is becoming more and more of an option, even when compared to last year.”

In the first quarter of 2018, the typical home in the region available to peak millennials with a budget between $325,000 and $425,000 was a condo with an average of 2.9 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and 1,344 sq. ft. of living space. While fairly comparable to the average home found in Regina in this segment, inventory within this price range was scarcer across the Greater Montreal Area during the first quarter of 2018, creating more competition over the few listings available.

Halifax

Idlewylde_Rd_Halifax_April_2018

6B Idlewylde Road, Halifax, NS • $424,900

Listing Agent: Chelsea Hill, Royal LePage Atlantic

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 4

Living Area: 2,600 sq. ft.

Peak millennials are increasingly turning to Halifax’s residential real estate market for its affordability relative to the rest of Canada. Many international students and prospective homeowners from Ontario have decided to enter the region in order to find large, move-in ready homes. These groups, along with local residents, are often choosing to purchase townhomes or condominiums that are near the downtown core, given that they are in close proximity to local amenities and offer little maintenance in comparison to large detached properties found in outlying rural regions.

Overall, when looking at homes available between $325,000 to $425,000, Halifax offered peak millennials the most value when compared to all other regions studied. During the first quarter of 2018, peak millennials with this budget could purchase a home in Halifax that had 1,736sq. ft of living space, 3.1 bedrooms and 3.0 bathrooms: the highest number of bedrooms and bathrooms in this segment.

“Recently, many peak millennials have begun to flock to Halifax to purchase some of the most affordable homes in the nation,” said Marc Doucet, broker of record, Royal LePage Atlantic. “As the region’s economy continues to strengthen, we expect this trend to continue, as prospective millennial home buyers from across the country increasingly venture into the area to live and work.”

Here are the March 2018 stats for the entire Sunshine Coast


The facts about the new Speculation Tax

The government expects to introduce legislation in the fall to make the tax part of law and they say 99 per cent of British Columbians will be exempt from paying the tax. The tax will be applied on properties that are not the primary residences of the owner — they’re not living there for more than six months per year — and that aren’t being occupied by a tenant when the owner isn’t there.

“The speculation tax focuses on people who are treating our housing market like a stock market,” Finance Minister Carole James said in a statement on Monday. “So people in smaller communities, those with cottages at the lake or on the islands, will not pay this tax. People with second homes outside of high-cost, designated urban areas will not pay the tax. We are going after speculators who are clearly taking advantage of the market, leaving homes vacant and driving up prices.”

Here are five things to know about the revised tax bill:

Tightly-defined regions
Previously, a number of areas where British Columbians owned vacation homes, cabins or similar were to be hit by the tax, essentially meaning that people would be forced to pick one property as their primary residence and paying the speculation tax on the other.

A map of where the BC government’s speculation tax applies. 

Now, second properties will only be hit with the speculation tax if they’re in Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District (but excluding the Gulf Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo-Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission.

Changing rates from 2018 to 2019
All properties that are affected by the tax will pay a rate of 0.5 per cent in 2018. In 2019, the rates will change.

A lower tax rate for B.C. residents
From 2019, B.C. residents who are subject to the tax will pay a rate of 0.5 per cent; Canadians from outside B.C. who have properties in the province that are subject to the tax will pay a 1 per cent tax rate, while non-Canadians will continue to be hit with the previously-announced 2 per cent rate.

Tax credits
Second properties belonging to British Columbians will be eligible for a $400,000 non-refundable tax credit, meaning second properties whose assessed value is less that $400,000 will be exempted from paying the speculation tax.

Special exemptions
Property owners “facing special circumstances” will be exempt from the tax. This covers properties where the owner or tenant is “undergoing medical care or residing in a hospital, long-term care or a supportive-care facility,” is “temporarily” absent because of their job or the owner is deceased and the estate is under the process of being administered.

Phased-in long term rental rule
If a secondary property is rented out as a long-term rental, it will be exempt from the tax.

From 2019, a long-term rental property will be one where the owner is not living in the property but is able to rent it out for more than six months per year. The property can be rented multiple times in a year, but each tenancy must last at least 30 days.

In 2018, the property must be rented out for just three months of the year.
The B.C. government will be exempting vacation homes from the speculation tax that comes into effect this year. Finance Minister Carole James says she has heard the concerns of British Columbians and has decided to exempt homes in remote areas and that are on smaller islands in and around the Capital Regional District.

“Ninety nine per cent of British Columbians will not pay the tax,” said James. “The speculation tax focuses on people who are treating our housing market like a stock market. So people in smaller communities, those with cottages at the lake or on the islands, will not pay this tax.”

“If there was one issue that has dominated the conversations that I, our government and all British Columbians have been having it is the issue of housing of affordability. It’s a crisis for British Columbians.”

The government announced on Monday that it will change the rate of the tax. Those living outside of Canada and not paying taxes here will pay two per cent on the assessed value of their home starting in 2019 if the property remains empty. Canadians that do not live in British Columbia will pay a tax of one per cent starting next year. British Columbians that own multiple homes, and keep them empty, will pay 0.5 per cent tax.

READ MORE: She hasn’t even owned her home for a month, but might have to sell because of B.C.’s speculation tax

There will be exemptions for those who own properties in buildings that do not allow rentals.

“We are working on the specifics at temporarily grandfathering in those who live in stratas that refuse to allow rentals because, again, we recognize that there are some exemptions where people are not able to rent out their properties,” said James.

The tax will apply to Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo-Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission. Nanaimo, Kelowna and West Kelowna have asked the provincial government to be exempt from the tax.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater believes the latest move will hamper development in the city, which he says has contributed to the improvement of the area’s infrastructure.

“New development expands our tax base and has been significant. We collect DCC’s, which are Devlopment Cost Charges from them, and when a new development goes in, we ask them to do all kinds of other things such as fixing up a road, and an intersection here and there.”

Findlater is hoping it’ll still be able to plead its case with the government, and will eventually be granted an exemption.

WATCH: Kelowna city council takes action against the speculation tax


James says those exemptions will not be granted.

“We have focused the geographic areas so this tax only applies in urban housing markets hardest hit by this crisis,” said James. “With so many people desperate to find good homes in these urban areas, we need to take every step we can to free up and create more housing opportunities.”

“We feel like we have an obligation to address the affordability and Kelowna and West Kelowna are two of those areas that are facing an affordability crisis.”

The exempt communities include Bowen Island, Cultus Lake, the Gulf Islands, Parksville and Qualicum Beach. Whistler was never included in the speculation tax and remains exempt as a resort community.

Starting this year the tax will be assessed at 0.5 per cent of a vacant property’s assessed value, before climbing in 2019 for everyone outside of British Columbia. The province is projecting it could bring in $200 million annually starting next year.

READ MORE: Government promises clarity of speculation tax in ‘days ahead’

Starting this year the tax will be assessed at 0.5 per cent of a vacant property’s assessed value, before climbing in 2019 for everyone outside of British Columbia.

Andrew Melton is an Alberta man who has owned property in West Kelowna for 11 years. Starting in 2019, he’ll have to pay one per cent of his property’s assessed value. While he’s happy the provincial government lowered the rate for out-of-province Canadian residents from the initially proposed two per cent rate, he believes the tax is still “extremely offensive and mean-spirited.”

“What are they trying to do? Is this tax designed to make housing more affordable? If that’s the case, they’re going about it all the wrong way,” Melton said.

But the opposition does not believe that the province can hit its targets given all the exemptions. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says around 48,000 homes would have to pay the tax to get to the target of $200 million calling today’s announcement “tax policy by trial and error.”

“There is no clear picture on where the money is going to come from. If the NDP is serious about chasing speculation they should do it with a traditional capital gains tax. What they are doing is saying give us part of your assets, give us part of your savings,” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson.

James says her government is still working on the legislation that must be passed before the tax comes into effect. That legislation is expected to be tabled in the B.C. Legislature in the fall.

British Columbians with a vacant second home will be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit that will be applied against the speculation tax. The credit will offset a total of $2,000 in speculation tax payable. This means British Columbians will not pay tax on a second home valued up to $400,000.

Owners are also exempt if their property is rented out long-term. The province defines that as a home rented out at least six months of the year.




Watch  monthly video that looks at the latest news affecting real estate activity in Metro Vancouver.

REBGV President Jill Oudil provides a summary of February 2018 housing market statistics.

Blog posts coming soon, please check back shortly.