Property obsessed millennials

Has real estate ownership become an obsession for Quebec millennials?

I asked myself the question while consulting the results of a Canada-wide survey conducted by L├ęger on behalf of Royal LePage.

The real estate agency suggests that “despite” the obstacles, a large majority of “Y”s intend to become homeowners. By ‘barriers’ we mean insufficient supply, high prices and rising mortgage financing costs. Allow me a different interpretation. Not “despite” the pitfalls, but precisely because of them, they are so determined. One idea seems to have taken root in the minds of this generation: Access to property can only get harder, so you have to try, no matter what the cost.

What exactly is this survey telling us and what do the results suggest?

Many owners

First, a clarification: Millennials are not very young anymore, the oldest of the cohort have just passed the 40-year mark. You’re not old either; those in the tail are still in their late twenties. So we’re basically talking about the mid-thirties.

What proportion of this group do you think declares ownership in Quebec?

According to the survey, 57% of Millennials own their place of residence. Given the circumstances (the “hurdles”) and given that part of the cohort is relatively young, this seems like a decent score.

Obviously, things are getting worse in Montreal, where only 35% of millennials pay off a mortgage, but the homeownership rate has always been lower in the metropolis.

The latest data on this topic is from the 2016 census.

The next set of housing statistics will be delivered later in September.

Still, in 2016, 63% of Quebec households were homeowners.

you want to buy

The most interesting data concerns the intentions of tenants of this generation. In this group, three out of four people believe they will one day own a home (a quarter of them plan to buy in the next five years). That proportion rises to 82% in the Montreal region (the highest rate in the country), although that means mostly relocating elsewhere if necessary. Without the question of cost of living, three quarters of Montreal millennials would be looking to buy in Montreal.

If all of these intentions materialize, it’s better to abandon hope of a return to affordability.

We have no specific data for the other regions.

generation priority

I mentioned the Y’s obsession with real estate ownership, but my judgment may have been influenced by the emphatic comments made by Royal LePage’s CEO in the press release. Referring to millennials buying a home, he mentions, among other things, “a rite of passage” and “an absolute priority” for which young people, “resilient”, are willing to make “the necessary sacrifices”.

There are goosebumps.

The comparison is probably useless, but for the record, I don’t recall young renters being gripped by such a fever in the early 2000s. There was a market recovery after the disastrous 1990s, but nothing like a wave carried by a generation’s “top priority”.

It is true that without the fear of missing the boat, we feel less urgency to rush there.

The effects telework

The Royal LePage survey also looked at the issue of telecommuting. Here are some results on Millennials in Quebec:

  • A third (32%) would switch their employer to remote work entirely, while 59% would not.
  • Almost one in five (19%) would live out of town to work remotely full-time, 20% would adopt the hybrid formula and 7% would commute to and from work daily.
  • There are 8% who would rather stay in the city and work fully remotely, 16% who would use the hybrid formula, and 15% who would go to the office full-time.

Reasons for wanting to work remotely, part-time or full-time (top 3):

  • Save travel time: 30%
  • Save travel expenses: 28%
  • Make household chores easier: 11%

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