Like many real estate markets around the world, U.S. home prices have run up during the pandemic to the point of some saying it's in bubble territory.
But the whole time and for years before, Canada has said "hold my beer" as prices rocket through the stratosphere in a number of major markets.
The situation has gotten so bad for first-time buyers that many may have given up. Ontario is home to markets with the biggest recent run-ups. A survey by Right at Home Realty found 74 per cent of younger Ontarians aged 18 to 34 say they may never be able to afford a home where they currently live.
Though the dust has yet to settle on the full impacts of COVID-19 on the housing market, one survey suggests the mass exodus from cities to the suburbs and beyond is exaggerated
“While the work-from-home outcome of the pandemic is undoubtedly impacting the housing market, we believe calls for a significant exodus from larger city centres and drastic shifts in the urban housing dynamic during and post pandemic are overstated,” says John Lusink, president of Right at Home Realty Inc.
The future of work, of course, remains up in the air. Some employers expect their employees to work remotely at least part of the time once the pandemic ends, while others expect them to return fulltime to the office. Until those decisions are carved in stone, even people who’ve thought about moving out of the city to a smaller municipality are willing to staying put.
“Having worked in this industry for 35 years now, I have seen one group among the 18-34 age group able to get into the market, and that’s thanks to assistance from parents who are able to do it, and certainly low-interest rates don’t hurt, but you do have to have a good job,” said John Lusink, President of Right at Home Realty
“It’s challenging all around. If it’s their first time purchasing, and with mortgage qualification rules tightening up yet again, it is discouraging and tough for young folks, so I empathize greatly with them.” Asked if easing mortgage qualification rules, including rescinding the 200 basis point stress altogether, for younger buyers might help them get a foothold in the housing market, Lusink noted that the rules exist for a reason, and as a parent himself he’s glad they do.
As homebuyers look to the end of the pandemic and begin to consider what the future of work looks like, employer requirements will have an impact on housing and location choices.
“New dynamics brought on by the COVID pandemic have homeowners juggling and reconsidering their priorities to find a better balance between work and life. On the flip side, more flexibility in work settings, schedules and openness to remote work have offered Ontarians a unique opportunity to take some time to decide where they want to settle and take a closer look at what their professional future may look like in their new hometown.” said John Lusink, President of Right at Home Realty.
A Maru/Blue online survey for Right at Home Realty released Wednesday, states 44% of those working from home during the pandemic have considered moving out of the city, most say the decision is tied to their work circumstances. 63% said they would be less willing to move further from their jobs if their employer wanted them back in the office even one to three days a week.
Right at Home Realty president John Lusink said some who have made the move away from Toronto could face “a bit of a shock to the system” if their boss wants them back at work. Those who moved might find it difficult to reverse course as home prices have continued to escalate. “They will have pulled themselves out of a market they can’t get back into,” he said.
Home ownership is becoming more and more of a dream-like fantasy for young Torontonians - the newly released results of Maru/Blue survey commissioned by Right at Home Realty, a Toronto-based real estate brokerage, suggest that 51 per cent of all Ontario residents are "feeling left behind" in the current housing market.
"Career growth remains a priority for many professionals living in the city, as they fear not being able to find the same work opportunities in smaller urban areas in the province," says John Lusink, President & Broker of Record at Right at Home Realty
- In the News