Real estate squeezing millennials
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | August 17, 2018|
The Globe and Mail had an interesting story last week, titled: Locals in Ontario’s cottage country prepare for battle with big-city home buyers.
The feature really didn’t come as any surprise to us. For a number of years now, we have heard from people born and raised in Haliburton County, or who have moved back home from stints away, that they can’t afford to buy a home here.
While the Globe story focused on a couple of older residents, leaving Irondale and struggling to find an affordable home in Minden, the stories I hear most often are from young professionals for whom owning a home appears to be a pipe dream.
They tell me if they can find a property for less than $300,000 … and that is a big ‘if’ … it tends to be a fixer-up beyond their expertise or budget to upgrade. So, they continue to rent – extremely high rent for the most part – and go about the motions of fruitless searches for a permanent place to hang their hat.
The real concern here, and I have heard it from countless young professionals in their mid-to-late 20s and into their 30s, is they are considering leaving the county to finally secure their dream of one day owning a home.
It is a real shame when the county already has a dearth of young professionals in an area that has been identified as struggling to find workers across multiple industries.
What is happening is Toronto baby boomers are selling their million-dollar properties in the big city to retire to rural and regional Haliburton County where they can spend a third to a half of their GTA sales proceeds to snap up a place here and then live on the remainder.
While we welcome the influx of new residents, and the money they bring to the local economy, they are also creating a lack of affordable housing for our own.
Anecdotally, we continue to hear that properties sell quickly but it takes longer to find and buy ones. And, for the first time ever, we are also hearing about bidding wars in our county.
One Haliburton realtor told the Globe that prices of homes and cottages have gone up 20 per cent since last year, because of the increasing demand and a lower supply. And it isn’t just competition from the GTA, we’ve learned, but also places such as Ottawa, London and other surrounding cities.
It is a major concern for millennials in our county. While real estate is a private industry, as we head towards the fall municipal elections, it would be good to hear from our prospective mayors, deputy mayors and councillors on this continuing housing issue.
What can the County of Haliburton and its lower-tier municipalities do to ensure we do not lose our best and brightest because they can’t afford to buy a home here?
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.