2 YEAR 3.29%

3 YEAR 3.39%

4 YEAR 3.59%

5 YEAR 3.39%

5 YEAR Variable 2.50%*

Updated May 11th, 2018
*Special conditions apply. Interest rates are provided for information purposes only and are subject to change without notice.

Down payments keep millennials on other side of home ownership fence

Globe and Mail ~ March 9th. 2016

Shannon Gillespie and her boyfriend, Paul Locking, both started working when they were young: He was 14 when he began helping out at his dad’s warehouse, and she was 15 when she got hired at a local rec centre to run childrens’ birthday parties before moving on to lifeguarding. Now both nearing 25, they find themselves in the enviable position of getting ready to move into their first home, a townhouse in North Vancouver, B.C. They’re also thanking their lucky stars.

Both savers, they lived at home during their postsecondary studies. (She’s graduating this year from a program in health sciences; he works in digital animation.) Doing so allowed them to sock away earnings from part-time and summer jobs, money they put toward a down payment on their 15-year-old, three-bedroom unit. They also had financial help from their grandparents. Without it, they have no doubt that they’d be renting.

“There’s no way without their support we could have done this,” Ms. Gillespie says. “We really lucked out.”

And in a sizzling market like Greater Vancouver’s, where it’s not uncommon for homes to be selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars above the asking price, the two feel especially fortunate.

“I would have loved a house, but it was out of the question,” says Mr. Locking. “My dad was nice enough to let me stay [at home] a little longer and save my money. I still can’t believe it myself.”

Ms. Gillespie and Mr. Locking are an increasingly rare breed: a young couple living in an overheated market who can scrape together enough money for a down payment for something larger than a so-called “junior one-bedroom” condo (read: studio apartment). Across the country, it’s getting harder for people to reach that goal.

The statistics are distressing. In 1974, a typical 25- to 34-year-old had to work for five years to put a 20-per-cent down payment on an average home in Canada. Now it’s 12 years, on average. In the Greater Toronto Area, it’s 15 years; in British Columbia it’s 16 years; in Vancouver and area it’s a staggering 23 years.

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