Vancouver’s housing market stokes fears of a ‘brain drain’ of millennials from the region: study

Click to play video: 'Millennials consider leaving Metro Vancouver because of house prices'
Millennials consider leaving Metro Vancouver because of house prices
WATCH: A survey is raising new concerns of a 'brain drain' in Metro Vancouver, finding that a growing number of millennials are considering leaving the region because of the high price of housing. Geoff Hastings has the story – Jun 6, 2018

New research shows just how challenged young people in B.C. feel about their finances and housing.

A survey by Insights West found 60 per cent of young people interviewed considered moving away and 85 per cent say home ownership is virtually impossible. The survey focused on residents of the Lower Mainland.

The representative sample of 820 British Columbians found young people in the province are struggling to better position themselves for the future in a way that older residents are able to.

Of those 18 to 29 years of age, 52 per cent admit they’re having a hard time financially and aren’t saving for the future, while 24 per cent are living paycheque to paycheque.

“Never mind home ownership,” chief member and employee experience officer, Tracey Arnish of  Coast Capital Savings said.

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“Even renting in the Lower Mainland is a stretch for a lot of young people. Once you take housing costs off the top, there isn’t a lot left over for other obligations.”

Perhaps not all that surprising in the midst of a housing crisis, 85 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds said it’s virtually impossible for young people to buy a house today and 86 per cent of older British Columbians feel the same way about home ownership for young people.

“What’s interesting for me is that for a number of years we’ve heard that people in that age category — or the millennials, slightly older — aren’t interested in home ownership and I’ve always been of the belief that it’s been more of a view of their feeling like they’ll never be able to achieve home ownership so therefore they’ve said they’re not interested but in fact that’s not the case,” Arnish said.

New Metro Vancouver homeowner, Kayla Neville, said she was only able to secure a house because of help from her parents.

“It’s ridiculously hard,” Neville told Global News.

” I never thought to be honest I’d be able to buy and I kind of just gave up on it, I was like I’m just going to rent for the rest of my life… paycheque to paycheque … even with a great job that I love… but I was very fortunate for parents that helped me with a down payment that got me that foundation.”

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Arnish encourages discouraged young people to avoid throwing in the towel, adding with positive, productive thinking and the right supports in place, it’s definitely possible to save and buy a home.

“Luck always helps but what we know is that it takes hard work, focus and a commitment to the goals you want to achieve,” Arnish said.

“You’ve got to believe it if you want to achieve it.”

But the survey results mark a clear divide between people under and over the age of 30, when it comes to their ability to afford home ownership, or even renting, in Metro Vancouver, leading to a growing number of millennial from the region looking at moving to somewhere more affordable.

— With files from Geoff Hastings 

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