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Housing affordability crunch keeping millennials at home longer

Millennials giving up on Vancouver: study
WATCH: A new survey shows just how hard the affordability crisis is hitting millennials. As John Hua reports, a lot of them say they're now considering throwing in the towel, and leaving Vancouver.

In an attempt to offset the affordability crunch, many millennials are making trade-offs to afford life in Metro Vancouver. In this case, the trade-off is living at home with mom and dad.

According to a new Vancity poll, 61 per cent of respondents between 18 and 24 said they are still living at home, while 23 per cent of those between 25 and 35 have yet to move out. The survey cited unaffordable home ownership and unreasonable rents as the major roadblocks.

READ MORE: Vancouver millennials have lowest discretionary income in Canada: Report

While those findings may be considered surprising for some, for Kathy Daly, it’s the only way her 25-year-old daughter can get ahead financially and one day own a condo.

“The day and age when I watched my grandparents go to work at the same place for 40 years, retire and get a golden watch and pension is gone,” Daly explained.

“Now when you look at CPP and what little you can get or that retirees are now having to get part-time jobs to supplement themselves… owning a home is like a retirement fund.”

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Daly’s daughter Shauna graduated from Capilano University in 2008 with a degree in television and motion picture editing. When she graduated, despite having worked since she was 16 years old, she could not afford to move out of her parent’s home because of student loans and the cost of living in the Lower Mainland.

To help her out, Daly and her husband made a deal with Shauna that as long as she had student loans, she didn’t have to pay rent. The 25-year-old cleared her debt a few months ago and is now saving for a down payment on a condo.

Why not rent?

It’s not something Daly and her husband encouraged.

“When you look at renting a condo that is just a waste of money,” she said. “If you can save up and have that as an advantage, why not?”

Space isn’t a problem. Daly says they have the room in their Coquitlam townhouse and in hindsight it’s one thing she wishes she’d done differently in her 20s. Daly and her husband, who also have a 15-year-old daughter, still rent because they cannot afford to buy.

“We’re trying to let Shauna learn from our mistakes and teach our children the only way is to save, save, save.”

But living at home does not mean a free ride. Daly said although they let their eldest daughter live in the room downstairs, they are not doing anything for her. Shauna is an adult that leads her own life, is very independent and yet, also has chores.

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“She purchased her own vehicle, her own cell phone and she’s been responsible for paying for those since she was a teen,” Daly said.

Although Shauna has been working hard at building her experience in the film industry in the Lower Mainland, Daly says it’s a process that takes time and at one point her daughter considered leaving the province and heading to California for more opportunities. In the end, Shauna decided to stay at home to pay off her student loans.

“Cost is the biggest factor and the Vancouver area, it’s becoming more and more expensive,” Daly said.

READ MORE: Home ownership for millennials – are they dreaming?

So if Daly and her husband, who both have full-time jobs supplemented by two part-time jobs, are busy helping their daughters get ahead financially, will they ever be able to own a home?

Daly laughs and says, “We joke all the time that maybe in our retirement. Maybe. Once the kids are out of the house… then maybe we can put that money aside and go buy a condo.”

While the poll appears to show most millennials in Metro Vancouver are keeping a positive outlook when it comes to owning a home, they also admit it will take them at least 10 years to achieve that dream.

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