For Gen-Xers the idea of being able to buy that little old lady’s Vancouver home in near perfect condition and close to work is according to a report by Scotiabank’s Adrianne Warren, fading fast.
“Demographic shifts in the make-up of Canada’s population will have important implications for housing demand in coming decades. Foremost is Canada’s aging population. Canadians aged 65 and over accounted for 15% of the total population in 2011, up from 8% in 1961.”
“Contrary to some dire predictions, population aging will not fuel a demographically-induced sell-off in Canadian real estate. Today’s seniors are healthier, wealthier and living longer than prior generations. They are increasingly likely to own their own home and to live in their homes for longer. Many will not need to tap into their principal home to finance retirement.”
According to Warren, “an aging population does point to a lower level of housing turnover, sales and listings. Seniors are much less likely to move in a given year than other age groups. Many have a strong attachment to their current home and community. In a given 5-year period, only about 20% of Canadians aged 65 and over are likely to move, about half the rate of the overall population”
Does This Impact You?
From what I have experienced as a baby boomer Realtor®, Gen Xers are on a hard road. I see it in the new kids starting out in the real estate business. I see more people with university degrees than ever doing jobs ill suited to their talents. I witness the battles of Gen-Xer families as first time Vancouver home buyers who devoid of parental help, struggle to save the down payment for a 650 square foot mansion in three level walk up.
I get it! In today’s world, the Gen-Xer’s ability to own a home in Vancouver is a huge challenge.
Though I work as a Vancouver Realtor® I am about to talk myself out of a job.
I am long past telling someone they must own a home to complete their existence. From my perspective while owning your home has its benefits it is not a mandatory requirement to fulfilling one’s life.
On the contrary, it is acknowledged that there are many places in the world where millions of people don’t own their home. Instead they rent, seem happy and appear to be OK with their lot in life. That position does not however, seem to be in line with our society’s thinking.
Here, Home Ownership is Instilled.
Ruthless Society Defined
Bothersome is that we have in our society chosen to define one’s success by the trappings on which we hang our sense of self worth. I remain uncertain that the definition of ‘life quality’ is differentiated by owning the most toys, property or renting.
What I’m left with is that given the current and foreseeable state of the Vancouver market, the ability for Gen-Xers to own a home is difficult and for some, unachievable.
Worse is that there does not seem to be an solution that allows for an equitable distribution of home ownership. If that solution exists I don’t think it will be achieved. Our society is simply not geared to operate at that level of equality.
Instead the home ownership benchmark is more ruthless – it is premised on whether you can afford to own a Vancouver home.
Gen-Xer frustration runs deep. Perhaps this comment by alecto in the The Star serves to describe it best.
1) Your generation could walk into a stable 9-5 job right out of high school, or in some cases without even graduating high school. Our generation needs a minimum bachelor’s degree or college equivalent to even get a foot in the door. Hence our living at home longer while we complete these degrees (which, by the way, put may of us thousands of dollars in debt out of the starting gate.)
2) There’s no such thing as a “starter home” any more if you want to live anywhere near an urban center where the jobs are. “Starter homes” are 500K and up, out of the range of most young people. Why? You boomers bought your homes for $65K back in the good old days and are trying to turn around and sell that same home to us for half a mil or more.
3) There is nothing wrong with our work ethic. We work long hours in piecemeal jobs, often with no benefits, pensions, or long-term job security, moving from contract to contract at the mercy of our boomer bosses.
4) If we feel “entitled,” it’s to achieve the same things our parents did: a decent place to live, enough financial stability to raise a couple of kids. These are not lofty goals, but even these simple milestones seem so far out of reach to so many of my generation because you’ve sucked up all the resources. Thanks for that!
It’s not hard to understand the frustration felt by Gen-Xers towards Baby Boomers. Generations before and after will remain ill prepared to accept their part in changing the world. I wonder if Gen-Xers will be like the fathers of Baby Boomers who too asked “what is your problem” followed by “we did it why can’t you?”
In retrospect Baby Boomers struggled as well but from this current generation’s perspective the Boomers appeared to have had a less difficult time. Ultimately, as a Boomer I can’t help but think that we Baby Boomers simply don’t know how lucky we are to have been born in our time.
See Adrianne Warren’s Full Report Here