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Young people pessimistic about chances of owning a home: poll

More college and university grads are finding their homeownership dreams further out of reach than in years past.

Polling numbers from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) show that three-quarters of graduates want a home, but about 40 per cent don’t think they can ever afford one.

“I mean whether you grew up in North Bay, Sudbury or Thunder Bay, you always believed that if you played by the rules, you got your degree, you saved a few dollars, you could buy a home in the neighbourhood at least where you grew up in,” said Tim Hudak of the OREA.

“But, sadly, with student debt loads and the cost of housing, that Canadian dream is fading away.”

Michelle Hagerty, of the Timmins, Cochrane, Timiskaming Districts Association of Realtors, said she recently got a call from a young adult struggling to find even an apartment to rent and now considering homeownership.

But the homes available at their current price wouldn’t be livable.

“If they’re buying something under $200,000, that means that it’s going to require a lot of work,” Hagerty said.

“And they definitely don’t have the money to put into all those renovations.”

She sent her client to a mortgage agent to see what she can afford right now, which local real estate experts say should always be the first step, including seeing a financial adviser.

“Maybe looking at something that maybe has some income potential with it, as well, so maybe a multi-family unit,” said Adam Haight of the Sudbury Real Estate Association.

“Something where you can, maybe, rent out the basement or something like that, might pay off some of the debt.”

That’s something Hagerty said she’s noticed several young people act on.

A mother to a soon-to-be grad, she also advises people to make some contributions to savings, even if it takes longer to repay their student loans.

Meanwhile, OREA polling shows more than a third of grads are considering leaving the province to find their first home.

Hudak said the province can avoid that by joining the federal government’s waving of interest fees, plus matching its First Home Savings Account with a debt forgiveness program.

“The government should relieve, dollar for dollar, the debt lid that they’re locking in to buy a home someday,” he said.

“That would make a big difference.”

And at the same time, he said, pressure the province to use appropriate resources to build more homes that young people can actually afford. Top Stories

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