Each generation has left its imprint on the world. Today, more than ever, it seems we talk about baby boomers, millennials, and generation (insert letter here), to the point it has become somewhat confusing. Often, comparisons are made.
It’s the age-old debate, who had it easier, followed by the old-man cliché “In my time…“. If we put this to one side, economists are highly interested in wealth distribution and spending power. They are substantial. They can be talked about. It is widely believed that millennials got the short end of the generational stick, and not having money has become their shtick.
Except, something unexpected has been happening in Canada. Millennials are reshaping the mortgage and home-buying market in Canada in ways few could have predicted. Quite the opening paragraph. Let’s unravel it and see what lurks behind it all.
Who are Millennials, and What Challenges do They Face?
An excellent starting point would be to take a closer look at who millennials are, exactly. Usually, we consider this to be people born between 1981 and 1994/6.
They were unfortunate to be affected by some of the worst economic turbulences in recent history. Ironically, while the pandemic hit the economy pretty hard, it seems to have given this particular generation a fighting chance. More on this later.
A more detailed look at how the generation of the hour is fairing against others can be found on statcan. The problem of paying off debts, with rising living costs and a shaky job market, has put them in a seemingly precarious position.
Millennials and the Pandemic
The pandemic came in riding the wave of a new recession, and the adverse effects are evident. The thing is, with quarantines and restrictions curbing outdoor spending, savings started to increase. At the same time, with personal, home, and work-life intertwining in ways never seen before, many people from this generation have started yearning for a place of their own.
On the other hand, social distancing has facilitated the need to find new innovative ways to advertise properties. Virtual tours and online methods have blossomed. As is usually the case, older generations showed a certain amount of aversion towards these new applications, while the younger portion of the population embraced it.
With the advent of digital marketing, millennials have been inadvertently given an advantage. The set was a stage for millennials to move into the market, a move they had been delaying for quite some time.
Millennials are influencing the Canadian mortgage and home-buying markets by shifting demand.
There is a sense of friction between this generation and builders. It is not palpable, yet you sense it is there. A good publication covering housing demands, CMHC, takes a close look at the data.
There is a growing trend that indicates millennials are looking to the suburbs more and more. As it has become widely acceptable to work from home, the concern of shortening that commute time has resided substantially.
This generation is concerned with amenities and services, leaning towards community more than ever. Still, the likely step will be for builders to lean into these trends and follow the demand. Simply put, this generation is affecting the type of accommodation being built.
Millennials to the Rescue?
With savings piling up due to the set restrictions and interest rates declining, a window of opportunity opened for them. Despite the odds, they are moving towards homeownership.
A move that they had been delaying for a while. What is interesting is that a lot of them are questioning if homeownership is a good investment. With many liquid options for investing available out there, it is not evident they will follow their predecessor’s logic.
Still, what is clear is that they make up a large portion of the population, and their decisions will shape the market. An interesting point to note is that they stand to gain a substantial inheritance from the previous generation. As things stand, the market seems to be recovering. A good portion of the credit is being attributed to our generation of the hour.
The white picket fence used to symbolize what older generations strived towards when it came to homeownership. Today – not so much. We see shifts in what constitutes long-term goals. Renting is becoming more and more popular.
Many young adults are opting to move back home to save on money or find roommates and rent. Even things such as dropping marriage rates should be considered. The significant steps are being delayed for a later stage in their lives. All of this is affecting the home buying market.
We touched upon the effect of technology earlier. It is not just about virtual tours. Online mortgages have become more popular, redefining the role of a realtor. Millennials love their internet searches, and why wouldn’t they? One of its benefits is that it has given us all the information we could ever need. This means they can gather plenty of mortgage quotes before deciding what course of action to take. Real estate agents aren’t there to supply information; they need to ensure all transactions run smoothly in a highly digitized environment.
Furthermore, sellers tend to set prices above the market price. This is done, so they have some wiggle room when talks begin. It is essential to negotiate the price of a house, which is the most critical role of a real estate agent nowadays.
Some Things Stay the Same Though
With millennials changing the mortgage and home buying market in Canada in a multitude of ways, maybe it is comforting to know some things remain constant. See, no matter how prices and processes change, you need to move out of the old place and into the new one once a house is bought.
As mentioned, the tech-savvy generations will already be googling different options, and to be honest, they got the right of it. Moving to Ontario can seem tricky, but employing the services of professional movers does not have to be so.
Undergoing a relocation does not have to be as difficult as it seems; it can be a simple process in Ontario if you find the right help. Who knows, maybe the younger generations will find a way to digitalize this too, but until then, we can only rely on movers.
Time Will Tell
Millennials are reshaping Canada’s mortgage and home-buying markets, but change is a natural part of life. At least, I have heard wiser men than myself say it is. Every generation faces its unique set of challenges. We tend to see only the negative aspects, but the beauty lies in the fact that they often come up with amazing new ways to overcome these obstacles. Through these solutions, the market is shaped and reforged into something new. Rather than shy away from it, we should embrace it.
From digitalization to a stronger yearning for community and comfort, needs are being reformed, but the market will inevitably change to accommodate these needs. It has always been this way. Look at me going off on a philosophical tangent, trying to sound as wise as the wiser men I previously mentioned! Still, you must agree – this seems like a pretty positive note to end on.