We have to improve housing affordability for future generations Image

We have to improve housing affordability for future generations

By Sam Reiss on Jun 26, 2019

I’m sensing a lot of negativity these days - not just in the housing market, but all around the world and close to home. And you know what? I’m tired. Thank goodness the Canada Day Long weekend is coming up. 

The province moved forward with its controversial Bill 108 to increase housing supply. The new home industry is thrilled, and some Toronto councillors are not. The federal government announced its start date and more details for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. Some are saying it won’t help first-timers in Canada’s most expensive markets, and it definitely won’t help with affordability. 

At the beginning of this week, Waterfront Toronto shared Sidewalk Labs’ master-plan for the Sidewalk Toronto project, and there’s still concerns surrounding personal data privacy. I also read about how buyers in Hong Kong are buying “haunted houses” to save 10-20% on a home.  

Then we have shootings, flooding, nonsense south of the border, Ontario teachers laid off, plants shutting down, sustainability measures being cancelled - it’s all become too much. There’s always a battle or a debate raging about one thing or another, but I can’t help but feel like everyone’s getting pulled in a bunch of different directions these days. 

Turning a blind eye to everything that’s going on is no way to solve any of these issues, but I can’t help but take a break from it this week. The summer sun last weekend put me in a good mood and I barely spent any time in front of my computer or phone. Then I opened my emails and read the news on Monday, and it was like my sunny weekend never happened. 

So, you’ll have to forgive me for not forming an opinion on the Sidewalk Toronto master-plan; for not once again sharing another opinion on the FTHBI; for not discussing Bill 108. 

One bit of mostly neutral news that caught my eye recently was the fact that Generation Z is now the fastest growing generation. At this moment in time, anyone born after 1996 (or mid-’90s ish) is considered Generation Z, so the oldest of them are around 23 years old. That means they’ll be considering buying homes soon. 

Like younger millennials, members of Generation Z grew up with the Internet in the age of technology. Out of every other demographic, if you hand them a new piece of tech, they’re likely to understand it better and quicker than the rest. And they’re being raised by Generation X and millennials. 

I’m curious how new home marketing efforts will change as buying power shifts to Generation Z. Will social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram be used even more for advertising? Will street signage see a decline in lead generation? 

There may even be a dramatic change in building type and condo amenities. Working remotely is becoming more common - perhaps larger, better designed communal work spaces will be a big selling point for young buyers. Maybe new condos need tech hubs or maker spaces?  

Not to put a negative spin on this somewhat hopeful stream of consciousness about the future, but as I contemplate what the housing market may be like for Generation Z, I can’t help but think about the current state of the world and hope that when the time comes, Generation Z can afford to buy a home and start a family of their own.  

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