Veteran housing industry analyst and reporter Rob Carrick said in his February 21 commentary piece for The Globe and Mail
that the high bar of entry represented by exorbitant costs is preventing young would-be buyers like millennials and young families from participating in the real estate market.
“No matter how much money you have to save for a down payment, buying a house is the easy part. It’s much harder to afford the endless financial demands of home ownership and find money for your other goals and obligations,” Carrick said.
He noted that recent regulatory changes, in particular, might prove to be a fiscal trap for many of these young buyers. Among these developments is the recently implemented $13,000 property transfer tax break on each home in B.C. worth less than $750,000.
“With houses, a vastly more expensive purchase, we encourage young people to spend beyond their means. We feel they’re entitled to a home and must be helped to buy if necessary because ownership is such a great financial move,” Carrick wrote.
The analyst expressed frustration at the industry’s seeming inability to adapt to this ticking time bomb by offering more viable housing solutions for the next generation of consumers.
“In these uncertain times, housing has assumed a role that is out of sync with its true importance and its role in other countries. Housing is a religion and, if you’ll forgive a personal finance writer making a reference to Karl Marx, it’s the opium of the masses,” Carrick wrote.
“Our finances would be better off if we started treating houses as what they are – consumer goods that a growing number of people cannot afford and shouldn’t buy because they’re too pricey,” he added.
In a fiscal environment characterized by ever-rising prices, especially in Canadian provinces and regions hardest hit by the global oil crisis, home ownership is fast becoming an unattainable dream that has been sending the younger generation chasing an illusion, according to a long-time observer.