I was more than thrilled to do it because I think there should be more stories in the media about millennials like me who are doing everything they can to get a good salary and save up for a down-payment, but still aren’t able to afford to buy in the city of their choice.
I certainly didn’t want to be part of a story that was about becoming house poor in a crazy real estate market, so being featured as a renter forever was just fine by me.
As many of you know if you read any of my house hunting blog posts, my husband and I looked for a place to buy for two months this past winter. We were pre-approved for a mortgage, we found a real estate agent and we were convinced that we’d find something in Toronto within our budget.
Our budget was about $500,000, which is still a pretty crazy number if you ask me. That’s half a million dollars just for a house! And no we weren’t looking for a brand new mega-mansion with granite countertops and a big yard. All we wanted was a bit of land with a two-bedroom bungalow on it. Something that would be a good investment compared to spending money on rent every month.
Alas, we just couldn’t find anything in our budget. And yes we did consider townhouses and condos, but there was just no way I would be willing to pay for a place where a) I don’t actually own the land b) I have to pay $500 – $1000 in monthly maintenance fees, and c) I’m still shelling out $500,000 for a two-bedroom place.
Once my husband and I realized we wouldn’t feel comfortable paying upwards of $600,000 for a house in Toronto, we decided to continue renting and spend more time looking into better ways to invest the cash we did have. It is unfortunate that if we want to continue to live in a major city, we may never own a home.
However, we are fortunate that we can afford to rent in Toronto and not owning a home gives us more flexibility. Without a mortgage and home maintenance costs, we’ve got more money to play around with for travel, which is a big priority in our lives. I’d much rather rent forever and be able to travel, than be stuck owning a home without any money left over to explore this amazing world.
From what I just wrote, do I sound like a entitled millennial? I don’t think so. Unfortunately, a lot of the commenters on the article I was featured in had some very different opinions. I honestly don’t really care what commenters on media sites say because I know (having worked in media myself) that a lot of those people just use the space as a platform to judge others. That being said, I do find it hard to believe that so many people out there read the story and completely missed the point.
The point of the article was to address this very real housing crisis happening in most major Canadian cities. It used to be possible to buy a house in one of those cities, albeit smaller and older than something you would get in the suburbs, without having to spend “67 per cent of household income” to do to so.
It used to be possible to buy a house in the city of your choice, but that’s just not the case anymore. That’s why my husband and I choose to rent instead of putting our life savings towards a house. And keep in mind, we’ve got a combined six-figure salary and were planning on putting at least 20% down on a $500,000 abode.
To me, it’s just not a smart financial decision to buy a house right now, but I also believe that what comes up must come down. Eventually interest rates will rise and many people won’t be able to afford their mortgages anymore. That will most likely force more houses to come onto the market to a smaller buyer pool. Hey, I could be wrong, but it’s happened in the past so why can’t it happen in the future?
Anywho, some of the “solutions” many of these commenters offered were pretty baffling. Some said “Then don’t live in Toronto anymore, move somewhere cheaper.” Sure, that’s a choice I could make. If I just wanted any house and didn’t care where it was, I could absolutely move to another city and buy a house for probably half of what my initial purchasing budget was. But that’s not a choice I want to make.
My husband and I’s jobs are in Toronto. Our friends all live in Toronto. Our lives are in Toronto. We just can’t afford to buy a house in Toronto, so we’re renting instead. And moving to the suburbs isn’t exactly a perfect solution either.
There would be more costs involved with commuting. Right now I only pay $141.50 for a monthly TTC pass, and my husband spends maybe $20 on tokens each month (he bikes to work). My husband does own a car, but he’s taken it off the road to save us more money. If we lived in the suburbs we’d probably need two cars and that would cost us thousands of dollars per year. Money that we’re currently saving and investing.
Another trend amongst the commenters was that I was an entitled millennial who thinks that I have a right to own a house, but in fact owning a home in a big city should be looked at as a privilege. Wow, I’ve never heard that one before. Very creative (*major sarcasm here).
Listen, it may come as a shock, but us millennials are some of the most money conscious and hard working people around. Just look at how many amazing personal finance blogs and podcasts us millennials have started to keep ourselves financially on track or to help us pay down our debt!
I’m not whining about how I can’t have that perfect home shown on HGTV’s House Hunters. I’m sharing my story in the hopes that others will too. Maybe if enough of us share our stories about this insane housing market, we can all make a positive change.
No matter where you live, there should always be an option for affordable housing. If you disagree with that, then you’re an idiot. Right now, the only option that’s affordable for us in Toronto is renting just outside the downtown core. I pay $1300/month in rent with my husband and I’m not complaining one bit.
I love this city, and I’m not going to be forced out of it just because I have dreams of becoming a homeowner one day.