Thanks to ASHLEY FOY for this post on owning a home in Toronto, where even a 500-square-foot condo sells for $400,000. Ashley, 24, is a real estate assistant.
We grew up picturing what home would be when we were older.
Many of us pictured a nice house and a great job. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to aim for? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to want? Barbie has a dream house. She’s a doctor, a chef, and a veterinarian after all.
But it’s not easy for young people in Toronto to achieve the “dream house” scenario. It borders on impossible. Increasing rent prices (the average rent for a one bedroom is reported to be over $2000), school payments, low-paying jobs, and unstable work make home ownership a distant dream.
So what does “home” mean for young adults in Toronto? I can tell you what I’ve observed, and what the new conversations about our futures have become.
Many young people in the city aim for a start in their chosen field of work, while working temporary or low-paying jobs. Some rent a place with many roommates to help share the high costs of rent (like the characters I once idolized on TV show Friends). This is especially the case for people who move to Toronto for school or work opportunities.
Others choose to stay with their parents instead of paying high rents. This is the scenario I find myself in. It seems like a good idea to put away the money I make to one day buy my own home, rather than throwing it away on a rental I can never really call mine. Parents often accept this, since it might be the only way their child can save enough to own a home.
Many do still hope to buy a home one day. In Toronto, a house is out of the question unless you’re lucky enough to have a high-paying job. (I personally don’t know anyone in their 20’s who has one of those yet)!
So, condos are on a lot of our minds. They are centrally located, come with attractive amenities, and are still comparatively less expensive than a house. Also, they are perfect for someone who doesn’t want to worry about maintaining a property.
To achieve this new vision of home, we have to save a lot of money. It can take many years, and if you’re paying rent it will take even longer. Fortunate people will wind up getting a loan from their parents for a down payment once they can afford monthly bills. One thing remains the same though — no one dreamed of today’s reality: paying more than $2000 a month.
The other option arises: move out of the city. I have considered this. A 500-square-foot Toronto condo ($400,000) costs more than a four-bedroom (fully renovated) house with a huge yard in Midland, Ontario. The difference seems insane. However, there are fewer jobs outside the city.
It comes down to income and lifestyle. If you can get a good job in a smaller town, a house out of the city could become home. Yet, most people I know still want to live where the “action” is, and where the jobs are. So home might be a parent’s house, a small condo in a lively location, an apartment with a bunch of friends, or a house outside the city.
What does the future hold? I still have a “dream house” vision, but it isn’t what it was. My dream-house vision has evolved — much like Toronto, much like young people ourselves.