Just one in seven British Columbian millennials own their home. (Black Press File)

Many millennials locked out of housing market

About 14% of millennials own homes, compared to 45.7 % of baby boomers

Millennials — individuals born between 1980 and 1999 — have the lowest rate of home-ownership in British Columbia, compared to other demographics, according to new figures from Statistics Canada.

About one out of seven homeowners in B.C. — just under 14 per cent— fall into the millennial category. By comparison, individuals born between 1950 and 1969 record a home-ownership rate of 45.7 per cent. The number would be even higher if individuals born between 1940 and 1949 were included, as that category captures the start of the baby boom generation. Generation X — individuals born between 1970 and 1979 — records a home-ownership rate of 17.4 per cent.

The low rate of home-ownership among millennials does not surprise. While millennials recently surpassed baby boomers as the largest demographic group in Canada in accounting for 27 per cent of the overall population, they “may be facing different challenges in building wealth than previous generations of young Canadians” as a recent report from Statistics Canada puts it.

“Despite being the most educated generation, concerns have been raised that millennials have been ‘slower to launch,’” it reads.

RELATED: Canadian millennials buy more recreational properties than boomers: survey

Reasons for this reality are many fold. First, the good news. As millennials have entered the workforce over the last decade, their inflation-adjusted, real median after-tax household incomes have been higher than those of baby boomers or Gen-Xers at the same age, and millennials who have entered the real estate market have seen their assets rise. But millennials have also piled up more debt relative to their incomes when compared to young Gen-Xers and young baby boomers, thanks in part to higher student debt.

While millennials might be the most educated generation in Canadian history — about 70 per cent of those between 30 and 34 years old had a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, compared to about 55 per cent of Gen-Xers at the same age — this reality has also left him with more debt relative to income.

Sociologists, economists and historians have also noted that today’s millennials are entering an economy radically different from the economy of the first decades following the end of the Second World War. Manufacturing — partly buoyed by military spending related to the Cold War competition between the West and the East — still accounted for a significant share of western economies, granting millions the prospect of steady paycheque. High rates of unionization and social welfare spending further levelled the economic playing field.

Young people entering the workforce today are instead competing for unsteady jobs in the service industry, where incomes can range widely, thanks to several factors including advances in technology and neo-liberal policies that have allowed companies to shift production around the world. Globalization has also internationalized local real estate markets.

In short, millennials face constraints on their purchasing power that previous generations did not face, forcing many of them to either rent or live with their parents as they try to adjust to these conditions. Consider the following numbers. Figures from Abacus Data show 73 per cent of Canadian millennials either rent (40 per cent) or live with their parents (33 per cent).

This same data also shows that 80 per cent of millennials want to own a home, suggesting the existence of an untapped market. This said, the reporting from Abacus Data is not optimistic.

“With persistently high property prices, home ownership seems to be the privilege of the wealthy and well-positioned and millennials who work for depressed wages will have to keep waiting and saving until they can finally afford the home of their dreams,” it reads.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

Most Read