With Vancouver’s astronomical housing prices, it seems that young people would be forced to live in basement suites forever. However, a recent analysis of home ownership done by Urban Futures shows that the proportion of young homeowners actually increased from 2006 to 2011, a period of steep growth in Vancouver’s housing market.
Homeownership Rates Among Young Age Groups
Reports that portray the current younger generation as being more challenged than previous younger generations to enter the housing market are balanced by data that shows a growing trend in homeownership rates among young age groups.
According to the data, home ownership rates among younger people in B.C.’s Lower Mainland went up more than the national average. Vancouver homeowners in the 20 to 24-year-old age bracket increased 4% to hit 25% from 2006 to 2011, putting Vancouver near the top of the list for homeowners under 25. The rate went up to 37% from 35% for those between 25-29 years. It stayed at a consistent 50% for 30 to 34-year-olds.
This means about a third of people under 30 in the Lower Mainland own homes. That’s about 10% lower than in Calgary but it’s on par with Toronto.
High Availability of Condos and Townhouses in Vancouver
One of the reasons attributed to Vancouver’s high rate of young homeownership is the high availability of condos and townhouses, which offer lower price points compared to other cities where houses are the only option.
Young people in Vancouver also likely see the value in saving and investing early, worrying that they’ll be priced out of the market. These would-be homeowners are getting creative, often teaming up with siblings or friends to buy an apartment and build equity. Eventually they sell and put the proceeds toward their own home. Others invest in condos in the suburbs while living at home. The suites are rented—again, to build equity and reduce payments.
While entering the housing market in Vancouver requires strategy (and serious space compromises), the report’s findings point to a hopeful trend. Young people want to stay in the Lower Mainland—and they are buying in to do it.