Must-Read Real Estate Headlines

Business | July 24, 2017

I don’t usually do this – post the creative content of others; there’s already enough of that on Facebook, where every news feed is a “share” of an existing online article.

But over the weekend, each of the major Toronto newspapers (save for the Sun, but I did say “major”) had a piece on the Toronto real estate market that was different from the usual recap or roundup, and offered some insight and commentary.

I want to show you those three articles today, and comment briefly, then add a fourth article which sums up the plight of mankind’s future.  Yes, really, it does.  You won’t want to miss it…


Wow, I’m really dating myself with that photo above, aren’t I?

When I think “news,” I still think newspapers.

But honestly, raise your hand if you still subscribe to a print copy of a major newspaper that is delivered to your door each and every morning?

I thought I would forever, but when my Globe & Mail subscription expired earlier this year, and it stopped coming, it made me realize that I don’t read it anymore.  I used to read the paper religiously every day on the stairmaster at the gym.

You know how every gym you’ve ever been to has “that guy,” and “the lady that does this or that;” a host of characters that you see on a regular basis and stand out because of an odd trait?  Well I was the insane-o who had a stack of dailies in hand and whipped through them like Rainman, scattering the discarded papers around the base of my machine, all the while, flicking sweat.

When I was done, wet newsprint formed a circle around the stairmaster like a candles surround a pentagram in a lunatic’s house.

I guess that’s not the only thing the lunatic and I have in common…

In any event, my 17-year relationship with the stairmaster ended two years ago, and low-and-behold, I no longer had a need for newspapers.

That, and I find the news to be incredibly depressing.  I can’t read anything in Section-A; I get depressed, disheartened, angry, and frustrated.  People, and politics.  What else is new…

And while I’m fully aware that we can get the newspaper on the Internet now, it’s just not the same thing.  My fingers aren’t black and smudgy after reading online articles, and I miss that!

But whether in print, or online, without fail – there is always going to be a real estate article, bi-daily at the least, in all of the major newspapers.

This weekend provided us with some interesting content.

One of my favourite columnists has always been Marcus Gee, and the fact that he regularly takes Kathleen Wynne to task only makes me like him more.

Gee wrote the following column over the weekend:

“Toronto’s Falling House Prices Signal A Return To Sanity”

What I like about this column is that it’s a somewhat more down-to-earth look at the recent drop in real estate prices than what we’re accustomed to seeing.

I’ve long opined that most newspaper articles about real estate (specifically those not written by a columnist) seek to draw people into the content with the most shocking headlines possible, and as a result, three metrics – price, sales, and listings, are used interchangeably to discuss “the market.”

A headline might read, “Real estate reeling with a 20% drop,” but that 20% could refer to month-over-month, or, year-over-year, as well as any of price, sales, or listings.

Many articles out there today are agenda-driven, and that’s why you see reporters using whichever of the price, sales, or listings metric is the most sexy.  If sales are down 54% year-over-year, but only 14% month-over-month, then use the former, especially if prices are still up year-over-year.

In the above article, Mr. Gee makes zero mention of a single percentage, nor does a number – any digit, appear in the column.

While I disagree with Mr. Gee’s underlying conclusion that the market won’t quickly rebound, and/or that this “dip” is more pronounced, I appreciate the upside that he’s bringing to light.  In fact, all three of the articles this weekend were written as though a drop in prices were a good thing.

But the part about the article that I appreciate the most was drawing attention to the effect a real estate decline would have on the government’s pocket book, and the potential fallout.

Have a read:

“Governments, too, will be forced to change their ways. Toronto’s, for one, has come to rely on the hundreds of millions of dollars it collects every year from a tax on land transfers.

Officials have been warning with rising urgency that the city is in for a reckoning if that windfall should dry up.

Now that it looks as though it might, city politicians will face pressure either to find other sources of revenue or to trim the city’s expenses – all to the good, either way.”

It’s actually quite scary to think what could happen if land transfer tax were to decline significantly at both the municipal and federal levels.

You all know I don’t like Kathleen Wynne, and you can agree or disagree.  But one thing is for certain: she will not be replacing lost revenue from provincial land transfer tax by making cuts to expenditures!  She’ll find a new tax – probably create one out of thin air, and at the very least, it gives you and your friends a cool new drinking game to play.  “What tax will the Liberals invent next?”

In the city of Toronto, things could get really dire if LTT were to dry up.  A friend of mine who works in investment banking told me before David Miller implemented the municipal land transfer tax, “If they don’t bring this tax in, Toronto could literally be on the brink of bankruptcy.  Cities rarely ever go bankrupt, but Toronto would be on the edge.”

In the Toronto Star, we read an unusually positive headline, about a negative take on the real estate market.

Tess Kalinowski penned the following:

“Toronto’s Market Housing Downturn May Have An Upside”

The idea is that some good must come out of a decline.

Individuals, government, society in general must learn from this.

I’ve always said, and I’ll explain in more detail with respect to the fourth article, that people often ignore the exponential world population growth when looking at causes of decreased supply and increased demand in hot real estate markets.

In this article, we got a great line:

“In the 1950s, Canadians consumed about 300 sq. ft. of space per person. Today it is about 1,000 sq.ft.”

It opened the door to a conversation about urban planning, which is where the government should be spending their time, along with analyzing fiscal policy with respect to interest rates, and mortgage regulations.

The government has acted as though a coin has only one side, and has only sought to “cool the market” by decreasing demand through policy changes, when all the while, increasing demand is the more unpopular tails side of the coin that very few people ever call.

It’s well beyond “time” for the government to start focusing on supply, or lack thereof.

Garry Marr of the Financial Post, who in my opinion, has long been a real estate bear, wrote a piece on the weekend that I thought was long overdue:

“Collapse In Toronto Home Prices May Pressure Ottawa To Hold Off Tightening”

I know that columnists and journalists don’t get to write their own headlines, so I won’t fault Mr. Marr for the word “collapse,” which I think is the very definition of hyperbole.

But the idea that the recent drop in prices must call into question further meddling, tinkering, or updating (depending on where you stand) of lending standards and regulations is one that should have been brought to the forefront weeks ago.

Kathleen Wynne was quoted as saying, “Cool, not kill” with respect to the housing market, and if that’s really the case, then we first need to define “cool,” percentage-wise, and then look at what has transpired already.

The market has cooled, no doubt about it.  And as the second article above shows, a lot more people are asking questions of themselves, and the market, who might not have done so earlier this year.

So are more policy changes really needed?

Should we really implement a 200 basis-point “stress test” for uninsured borrowers?

When the government implemented a similar policy in 2016 with respect to insured borrowers, the policy had zero effect on the market, and once again, those in the government tasked with cooling the market had egg on their face.

But those insured mortgages are backed by tax-payers!  I can see how they have a horse in that race.

For uninsured borrowers, does the government really need to step in and protect people from themselves?

Keep an eye on this story over the coming months, as those who thought we might see another interest rate hike in September, are now changing their tune.

Last, but certainly not least, an article that was sent to me by over a dozen blog readers and friends, some of them who sent this out of disgust, and some who sent it because they know how I feel about “kids today.”

“Millennial Pens Open Letter, Says Toronto Real Estate Prices Too High”

This is probably the dumbest thing I have read in a year, and it underscores the ignorance, arrogance, entitlement, and delusion of today’s youth.

I’m 36-years-old, turning 37 next month.

I was told by a very nice lady in my office, who is in her mid-60’s, “Davey, every generation thinks the generation behind them is going to end the the world.  And not one of them remembers when they themselves were being blamed by the generation ahead of them.”

Truer words may never have been spoken.

It’s like recreational golf: you always think the group ahead of you is playing slow, and the group ahead of you is playing up your a$$.

So am I being hypocritical if I ignore all of this, and label today’s young 20-somethings as those who will end the world?

Read the letter, it’s just insane.

The girl who wrote a letter to a city is ignoring so many important things that she probably wasn’t taught in school, such as basic economics, and supply and demand.

But what about a simple understanding of the world’s population growth?  The world has doubled in size since 1971, and the Greater Toronto Area’s population has doubled since 1982.

But her letter, and the quotes from her interview with Global News, make her sound like the lazy, clueless, dreaming, irrational, unreasonable millennial that the entire group, unfairly, gets categorized as.

“I’m still living at home and all my friends are as well and it’s hard. The market isn’t letting us become independent people that we thought 10 years ago we would be at this age.”

You’re 23-years-old.

Living at home is “hard” for you?  I suppose life in your parents’ basement, paying no rent, having zero expenses, full access to groceries and things you never thought you’d pay for like toothpaste, is “hard?”

You thought you would be a certain type of person when you were 13-years-old, and now that you haven’t achieved that, you think it’s “hard?”

When I was 13-years-old, I thought I was going to be a multi-millionaire by the time I was 23-years-old.  I thought I was going to own a yacht, a plane, be married to a supermodel, and light cigars off burning $100 bills.  But that’s because I was 13-years-old.

“Whenever I picture my life and my future, I pictured it with a house and a backyard.”

No kidding, eh?

You’re 23-years-old, and you’ve already given up the possibility that one day you’ll own a house, like a very, very small percentage of the population?

Folks, come on!  Tell me I’m being unfair here!

But this girl is completely out to lunch!

The arrogance of her, probably working a 9-5 job and eating avocado toast with friends by 5:30pm at a swanky downtown pub, to think that the city owes her something.  Her life has been a fantasy up to this point, and now that she’s actually out in the working world, and has to work, she’s telling the rest of us how entitled she is?

It’s “Toronto’s” fault that she can’t afford to buy a house with a backyard.

“Toronto” is a city.  It’s made up of people.  People are consumers.  Consumers buy and sell.  Products and services are bought and sold.  Supply and demand create prices for products and services.

She’s looking for a boogey-man, the same one her dad checked for under her bed no more than ten years ago, and she won’t seem to consider that the explanation for market conditions is more simple.

“It was fun while it lasted Toronto, but it’s time for us to leave.  Why does it seem to us millennials that you don’t want us here?”

Oh poor you.  You poor millennial!  Toronto doesn’t want you!

Who the hell gave this national coverage?

I’m living proof that any idiot can put his or her thoughts on the Internet, but to give this young lady a forum on Toronto Storeys, and then for Global News to pick it up, is just insane.

“…it’s just too expensive to live here now. That first family home we always dreamed of owning in North York, or off Eglinton…”

Are you kidding?

Owning a home in North York?

You’re a child.

Assuming you have a job – the adults that you work with, who have slaved for two decades longer than you – they have no chance at affording a $2.5M house in North York.  So why are you lamenting that you can’t afford a house in Roncesvalles?

“Maybe it will be better for us. To own land far away from this busy city, where we focus too much on our screens and less on what the great outdoors has to offer.”

Oh great, there’s an even better idea.

Now she thinks she can move up north, teach kite-boarding, and make enough to support herself long term.  Although I’m pretty sure Trudeau’s government will prop her up, so maybe she’s onto something here…

“But you can’t get rid of us for good. Our careers are still largely here in the city. Maybe soon our bosses won’t be able to afford their rent either, and we will all move up north.  And then you’ll have no one. You’ll be forced to lower your absurd home prices. And you’ll be asking us all to come back.”

Wait, you just said you’re moving up north to teach canoeing.  What’s happening?  Wait – your bosses are moving up north, and I guess the TD Towers will too?  In fact, every single industry in Toronto will move up north?

Then “Toronto” will lower his or her prices?

If this is who is going to lead us into the future, then we’re all doomed.

Anyways, those first three articles were encouraging, right?

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  1. Max

    at 7:24 am

    Hi David. I started following your blog last year and I find it very insightful and truthful among all the real estate news from mainstream medium. I agree with you when you say a lot of news reporting is for an agenda that is NOT for the greater good but just get more readers and say something different. I think especially at a time when their paper subscriptions bring in less profit and millennials are the reporters. Many of Wynne’s recent policies ride off the one or two articles with the most comments. There’s a lot of whining in the news and there will always be that.. but when media makes generalizations and puts it out in public they affect policy affecting us all…. Who is keeping the media honest? They might as well be working for politicians.

  2. Kendra

    at 9:19 am

    I think you went way too easy on the millennial. This is Friday Rant worthy!!!

  3. Chris

    at 9:24 am

    The article citing the millennial is certainly a bit asinine. However, the statistics show that millennials do indeed face a more difficult situation than their parents did.

    Dr. Paul Kershaw ( has examined this in depth, and provides the following statistics:

    In 1976, adjusted for inflation, average income for 25-34 year olds was $46,680, the average home price was $202,794, and average student debt was $16,000. The average monthly mortgage cost was $1,479 and it took five years to save for a 20% downpayment.

    In 2013, average income for 25-34 year olds was $42,480, average home price was $382,513, and average student debt was $23,000. The average monthly mortgage cost was $1,615 and it took ten years to save for a 20% downpayment.

    Given that Dr. Kershaw’s “present day” statistics are from 2013, the situation is likely significantly worse today in 2017, as home prices have continued to grow, while wages have remained relatively flat.

  4. Tina

    at 10:09 am

    When I was 23 we bought a condo for $150,000 back in 2000 in an area we hated, but we bought it just to get in the market. Now 17 years later we have two houses mortgage free total worth 4,000,000.
    You can always get what you want only if you work and plan for it and sacrifice a lot. They should start teaching that starting in grade 4 instead of sex.

    1. Juan

      at 12:38 pm

      $150,000 in the year 2000 is approximately $205,000 in today’s dollars.

      Show me a reasonable condo anywhere in Toronto or Vancouver that can be purchased for $205,000. It’s gotten to the point where a 1 bedroom condo in Toronto costs 400K+, and the average condo is 550K.

      This means a “millennial” needs roughly an 80-110K income to afford a condo. Which is extremely difficult to attain at a young age in today’s economic climate.

      The bitching and moaning by the 23 year old is entitlement, but that doesn’t change the fact that it a normal person cannot even come near the income required to by a condo in this city…

      1. Tina

        at 2:29 pm

        We couldn’t afford Toronto so we bought outside of Toronto. At the time Mortgage rates were triple what it is now. And I said it in my last comment that there are 20 somethings now that are getting into the market outside of GTA. So it’s possible.

        1. Chris

          at 2:47 pm

          Ok, so you bought a $150,000 condo for triple the present day mortgage rate; let’s use Juan’s numbers and call it a $205,000 (inflation adjusted to present day) condo at a rate of 7.9%. Your monthly mortgage payment with 20% would be $1,241.

          Again using Juan’s number of $550,000 for the average condo today, if we put 20% down and have a rate 3x less than you paid (7.9%), at 2.64%, the montlhy mortgage payment is $2,002.

          So, after adjusting for inflation and difference in mortgage rates, today’s 23 year olds are paying ~$750 more per month for that condo than you did.

          So again, I ask, would you be able to purchase your starter condo at today’s valuations on your 23 year old salary?

          1. Tina

            at 2:56 pm

            You can buy a one bedroom + den condo by Scarborough town Centre for $300-$330. Do the math on that and it’s affordable.

          2. Chris

            at 3:01 pm

            You still haven’t answered my question:

            Could you have afforded your starter condo at today’s valuation, on your inflation-adjuster salary when you were aged 23?

            You keep claiming millennials are entitled, lazy, need to adjust expectations, etc. etc., yet seem completely unwilling to acknowledge any of the statistics I have presented that clearly show they face a more difficult financial situation than you did.

          3. Tina

            at 3:24 pm

            Yes I could afford it. I could afford a $330,000 condo today with 20% down. $1230 payment with a 2.22 variable. or $1300 with 2.84 closed. Do you need more calculations?
            Why are you arguing with me? It’s possible and I know many that are doing it. But no you can not work part time and expect to own a house or full time with one salary.
            I don’t care what studies say, I pay attention to around me.

          4. Chris

            at 3:49 pm

            So your $150,000 condo from 2000 would today be valued at $330,000? Given that Toronto composite HPI has increased 75.81% in the past five years, I somehow doubt that your starter condo only increased by 120% over 17 years.

            I’m arguing with you because I find your posts stubborn, immature, and rude. You’re unable or unwilling to recognize that the financial position you were in circa 2000 is not equivalent to that of millennials today. Rather than showing an iota of empathy, you dismiss this increased hardship by simply saying they need to make more sacrifices, work harder, adjust their expectations, etc.

            Ah yes, basing decisions off anecdotal evidence rather than data, studies, and research is always a clear indication that one has not been burdened with an overabundance of education.

          5. Tina

            at 4:44 pm

            Just go see it for yourself. Same Condo on Lee Center in Scarborough. It goes for 300-330. And you’re the one being rude and immature. Education has nothing to do with being successful. You can go to school for 20 years and read all the data in the world and if you don’t know how to turn $1 into $10, that education was just a waste of time and money.

          6. Chris

            at 5:48 pm

            If you honestly can’t look at the simple facts and figures presented to you, realize that you were in a privileged financial position, and hold some modicum of empathy for your fellow human beings who are faced with increased hardship, well you’re either naive, selfish, or some combination of the two.

            You must also be kidding to think that education has no bearing on success. From Statistics Canada:

            “In Canada in 2011, adults with a college diploma or university degree earned on average 74% more than those with a high school diploma or trades certificate.”


            But hey, anecdotally, you heard that Bill Gates dropped out of college and he’s a billionaire! Therefore, education has nothing to do with success at all, right?

            By the way, your estimate of your two properties worth $4,000,000, does that include the recent 17% downturn? If not, you should probably revise your net worth downwards by about $700,000. Ouuchhh. But I suppose you can just work harder, make some sacrifices and stop eating so much avocado toast, and you should be able to make that back in no time!

          7. Tina

            at 6:05 pm

            I’m being very modest with my estimate of the value of both properties. So don’t worry about me, I plan on working for at least the next 20 years. The first 5 years were hard but after it’s been avocados on every toast. Every one can do it as long as they are focused.

          8. Chris

            at 6:22 pm

            Well Tina, the more modest you were in your assessment, the greater the amount of money was just shed by your properties in the recent downturn. Aren’t percentages fun? These are the kinds of things you learn through education!

          9. jeff316

            at 9:12 am

            Come on Chris, now you’re just being a jerk.

          10. Chris

            at 9:32 am


            Yes, perhaps I am.

            However, as you can see by my comments, I have tried to present Tina with data and statistics to concretely demonstrate that she was in a fortunate position compared to that of millennials today. Her responses are that millennials need to sacrifice more, education doesn’t matter, statistics are worthless, etc.

            Statements like those are worthy of ridicule. If that makes me a jerk, so be it.

          11. Tina

            at 10:07 am

            @Chris It seems like you read a lot just not understanding. When did I say education is not important? I said education has nothing to do with being successful. You can go to school for 20 years and read all the data in the world and if you don’t know how to turn $1 into $10, that education was just a waste of time and money. You don’t even know what I do for living, or how educated I am and how many businesses I have. I really shouldn’t even respond to you any more. Have a great day.

          12. Chris

            at 10:18 am

            Saying education has nothing to do with success is akin to saying it is unimportant. That’s really not a hard concept to grasp.

            Plus, I provided you with Statistics Canada data that clearly shows, yes, education does have a strong bearing on success, through a much higher earning potential.

            It’s quite obvious from your poor spelling and grammar, as well as your prioritization of anecdotes over research, that you have not been burdened with an overabundance of education.

            Thanks, hope you have a fantastic day as well!

          13. Samantha

            at 10:34 pm

            Hey Chris, thanks for not letting up on this comment thread. What you did…just…wow. Whenever I try to talk sense into people on the internet I can’t get past sending a few replies before throwing my hands in the air. You’re a great person and I appreciate you.

      2. Sevyn

        at 10:12 pm

        Stop talking about Toronto. Try Pickering, Ajax, Newmarket, Oshawa, Brampton, Hamilton, Cambridge. There are places to live that are still booming and somewhat affordable. Start thinking outside the box you live in! It’s called the GTA for a reason!

    2. Mike

      at 1:23 pm

      More often than not, the pervert in the park is going to entice a 10-year old having sex and not a one-bedroom plus-den overlooking the harbour. That’s why sex ed is important.

      1. Tina

        at 2:33 pm

        You’re right sex ed is important but so is financial literacy.

        1. T

          at 5:36 am

          You don’t come off as literate, moreso lucky and boastful.

    3. Natrx

      at 5:03 pm

      Tina, I’m about 2-3 years younger than you so we’re of the same generation (between Gen X and Millennial). Those that focused and zero’d like you at that age and kept going at it would easily be in the windfall position. My wife, bought her property in 2006 which was considered early compared to others at that time.. Her sister in 2007 in a part of Scarborough that was cheap. We both today easily agree that our generation was the last to really have it easy in terms of getting financing and low house prices and no way we could enjoy the quality of life today without help.

      My first job around 2004, we all made 30K in our large team. A bulk of them bought new builds in York Region when you could just buy easily, BORROW the down, 40 year amort at one point, etc. There was no competition for them. Prices were in the low 300s for a starter home (11x multiple). A monkey could have done it. It just took some guts and not being too rational about what if scenarios. Heck, you could buy multiple properties because the banks didn’t cross check your mortgage debt.

      So kudos to the people that did that back then. That same job? Around 35K salary today. Many jobs paying 35K back then are probably in the low 40s today if you’re lucky. Compare that to the average house price. So I’ll defend the millennials of today in that respect. Also, the cohort in population of those born around 1975 (Gen X) is actually one of the smallest around. So the less population = less competition for real estate of that graduating class. Compare that to today where the Millennials (those 26 today) are the largest today = much more competition.

      However, I’ll knock the millennials in that even back then, downtown was overpriced, especially for anything that was in move-in ready condition. Those old downtown homes needed extensive safety upgrades. So no, the average young grad or even older grad didn’t even think about buying homes in ‘old’ Toronto that the average Millennial is thinking of today. That was always reserved for the higher end professions such as lawyer, accountants. But they would be around 30 (not 23) buying that. Millennials laughably want that urban cool life. Back then, we weren’t self-absorbed to think about that and accepted commuting as a way of life before kids. Also, the parents of these Millennials now have unprecedented wealth. The largest transfer in history will occur. So their wealth is back-ended. Not available now now now.

      To balance, yes, there’s a lot of clueless millennials refusing to adapt and find ways = sacrificing your cool cool in the city life and complaining about However, on the front end (not back wealth end), they definitely have it ‘harder’ regarding property than those just 10 years ago regarding the same location or even a reasonable one. Especially as incomes have not kept pace at all.

      1. Chris

        at 5:51 pm

        I agree with much of what you’ve said. Some millennials are delusional regarding what type of home they should deserve. However, we do need to acknowledge that the situation they face today is more difficult than that faced by their parents.

        1. Max

          at 6:08 pm

          Even if you do everything right, in the end, sometimes it comes down to luck.

      2. jeff316

        at 9:14 am

        This was a great post, with the minor exception of carving out of a subgeneration by millenials that don’t want to be millenials. You’re a millenial. It’s ok. LOL

      3. jeff316

        at 9:19 am

        To add, I agree that the desire of millenials to not commute is part entitlement but it is also part necessity, given double income families being the norm now. Two suburban commuters with kids in daycare is tough, unless you have help.

  5. Daniel

    at 10:59 am

    “And the meek shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

    These millennials will be at the helm in a generation’s time. Better make hay while the sun shines!

  6. Ralph Cramdown

    at 11:05 am

    Uniparous 37 year old talks up exponential population growth as a reason for higher real estate prices. Malthusians worldwide would rejoice, if there were any left.

    — Greetings from the Best Place on Earth, where nobody can afford to have children.

    1. David Fleming

      at 11:21 am

      @ Ralph Cramdown

      The world’s population was south of One Billion when Malthus wrote his famous book. What would he think NOW?

      1. Ralph Cramdown

        at 12:17 pm

        He’d be gobsmacked. 7 billion of us, Less than 40% of the worldwide population employed in agriculture, and less than 5% in North America and Europe, both of which are now net exporters of food. Obesity and related diseases among he largest public health problems in much of the world, even (especially?) among poorer people? And birthrates in the richest countries declining below replacement levels by choice? Yep, he’d be gobsmacked.

        The UN currently estimates world population will stop growing toward the end of the century, but it has had a history of being behind the curve in its estimates of growth rate declines. We could see peak world population around 2050, with much of the growth until then (or even more than 100% of net worldwide growth) being in Africa.

  7. Real estate millennial

    at 11:11 am

    So which generation is going to pay for the burden of upcoming pensions, healthcare, and hydro over the next 2 decades. I’m not here to defend all millennial because many of us don’t understand the world we live in but that’s 90% of people. why are you so harsh on one generation? If 90% of the worlds wealth is held by 10% of the population wouldn’t that mean 90% of people don’t truly understand globalization, economics and how these things truly affect us. You also work in an industry where many people would argue you’re overpaid for the work you do. 60 deals * an average sale price of 600,000 * 2.5% that’s about $900k in GCI. I only make that point because you make well over the average income of a Canadian and it’s not to say you’re a doctor or lawyer and or in any highly regarded profession. I agree with a lot you say and you’re not completely wrong but you’re truly only telling half the story. The same thing you complain most reporters do!

  8. Condodweller

    at 11:19 am

    This comment on another comment on the article by a millenial has the right perspective:

    “Could you afford to buy your house, at it’s current value, on your 23 year old salary? Not what you paid for it, it’s value today. Probably not. Why do you expect today’s young people to do what you would not be able to do in the same situation? Your rant just shows how your ignorance on the topic of inflation.”

    While it is easy for those who are financially established to call millennials entitled and dismiss their cries of hardship, they do face a significantly more difficult challenge than we ever did. Having said that, they do have to adjust their expectations to the new reality or at least bide their time until conditions swing back in their favour in the longer term. You can’t blame someone for wanting the same things they grew up with.

    I also think that living in your parents’ basement isn’t as glorious as some make it out to be. Young adults want to strike out on their own and have independence. Nobody wants to live under someone else’s rules even if it’s their parents.

    1. Tina

      at 12:05 pm

      We all want to live in Toronto, but we can’t all afford to live in the best areas of it. She can go buy a condo in Scarborough. She’s 23 and doesn’t need a house with a backyard. So yes they can afford it if they stop spending $100 a week at Starbucks, and no you can’t be going out to dinners and clubbing every weekend and expect to be able to save for a down payment. There are a lot of 23 year olds today that are buying outside of GTA and commute. All I’m saying is they can do it if they just sacrifice their social life for a few years. The expectations are unreal.

      1. Chris

        at 12:27 pm

        Tina, you say you bought a $150,000 condo when you were 23. Would you be able to afford that condo today, with your salary at 23 (after adjusting for inflation)? I suspect the answer is no, but feel free to correct me.

        It’s naive to simply think all millennials are blowing their money on Starbucks and avocado toast. Sure, some are, just like some Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers are as well; financial illiteracy isn’t generation specific.

        As I explained below, it is a statistical fact that millennials, on average, face a more difficult financial situation than their parents did.

        You writing off this hardship and claiming they should”just sacrifice more!” shows quite a lack of empathy. I’m not saying they are entitled to everything, but at least a recognition that they have been dealt a more difficult hand would be a good start.

        1. Sevyn

          at 10:07 pm

          First and foremost a 23 year old most likely wouldn’t have the greatest paying job to get a house on their OWN. Furthermore, they should just be finishing university/college. When I was 23 minimum wage was $6.85!!! What is that? Geezzz. How did I do it? I’m 35 years old now and I am on my fourth property. It is in fact possible in this day and age to be a millennial and have a home. In fact I have my own house alone and so do each and every single one of my female friends. We all are independent and know exactly what we want. As I wrote above, we sacrificed. Zero spending to now have a home. When I was 23 I was making at least $15 dollars an hour and I had my own condo WITH my boyfriend who was making maybe $18 an hour. We purchased that in OSHAWA for 108k and put $20,000 down and can I say interest rates were 6 percentish… Then 5 years later I solely bought a condo townhouse for 229k and then another home for 289k and then another for 380k. Today a little more than 10 years later- I make more than double that amount and I am moving into a 3 year old detached home. So let me make this clear – it is possible. Not in Toronto I assume but it is possible. I’m doing it alone. So I’m tired of the whining and complaining. If you want something, work hard to achieve it. Nothing is stopping you. Today a 23 year old could do it with the right resources. They have to be smart and sacrifice. Also, the American Dream is not for everyone. Not everyone can own a home. Suddenly over the past 10 years home ownership has become the hottest topic. Can I ask why millennials in New York don’t nag and complain? Again I’m a millennial. I believe it’s possible. Let’s move on….

      2. Juan

        at 12:29 pm

        Most 23 year olds and dumb with completely unrealistic expectations for lifw. This includes people of David’s and your own generations. You may think differently now, but you likely aren’t properly remembering your mental state at 23.

        Ripping on the stupid 23 year old’s entitlement is not actually useful in any way. If anything you should be ripping on Global for conducting that interview and publishing that useless article.

  9. Juan

    at 12:25 pm

    This article was good up until the millennial bashing

    1. Mike

      at 1:21 pm

      Disagree. It was boring and pandering until the millennial part. And now it has us all talking, which I think is the point. I smell a part-two coming.

    2. Tina

      at 2:47 pm

      It’s not bashing, that’s what’s happening. Maybe if media shed more light on the millennials that are not entitled and are working hard to save for the down payment and have modest expectations, we would not be having this conversation. I’m not that old but never did I or my friends in our 20s think we could buy a detached house in Toronto with a pool and go on vacations every 6 months and lease a BMW. We worked 60-80 hours a week, some of us had 2-3 jobs and still do.

        1. Tina

          at 3:14 pm

          I did’t say all millennials, Just wish there were more of it in the media. How many have you seen being interviewed on TV. I like to see the ones that keep their phone for over 2 years, that can manage their one gig a month on their plan. Go out for dinners once a month. Make coffee at home. The ones that don’t have designer clothes, shoes and bags. And actually stick to a budget that they set for themselves. There are a lot of them out there, but not good enough for media cause it’s boring news.

          1. Chris

            at 3:19 pm

            I honestly can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic…

            I literally just posted four separate media stories about millennials working hard, making sacrifices, etc.

    3. Sevyn

      at 9:40 pm

      I agree… let’s move on. I’m also a millennial. I do own a house and have owned a couple of properties. Some people work harder than others, some people are ‘lucky’, some people get breaks in life. I do believe home ownership is possible for millennials. Depends where you want to live. I never grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth. However, I did give up trips, movies, restaurants, lunch at work, coffees, salon visits, spa visits, iPods, iPads, the latest cell phones, electronics, clothes, parties, and any form of entertainment and lived off cash only. Many millennials don’t want to do that. I sacrificed a lot to have a house in the Durham region. @millenials: YOU CAN DO IT TOO!! I agree it will most likely have to be a combined income. Millennials shouldn’t give up – you can own a property by the age of 30. One thing I didn’t do and I am glad I didn’t was save 20 or 25% down on my first home. I started with 5%. It is possible and if you can somehow sacrifice and save $500.00 a month you can definitely own a home. No more millennial bashing. Let’s get back to it!!

      1. T

        at 3:14 am

        The purpose of life is not to own a house. Putting yourself in mind bending debt, leveraging yourself by 95%, is not a smart idea – especially now. It may have worked out for you so far but don’t go around making out like it’s for everyone and it’s the end all be all of life.

        No house in this world can replace cherished memories, friends, moments, life experiences. If you sacrificed this in your best years for some bricks and sticks, I feel sorry for you.

  10. Kyle

    at 3:30 pm

    Houses with backyards in large cities are expensive. Sorry if this newsflash is dream-crushing, but it isn’t actually a generational thing. It’s a city living thing.

  11. Sarah

    at 4:43 pm


    As a 23 year old ‘millennial” let me share something with you:

    – I worked almost full-time during my university education to pay for my education. In addition to taking on debt to fund my education.
    – I graduated from university, degree in hand, and fortunately found a full-time job almost immediately following
    – Today, I work 60 hours a week, spread over 2 jobs. 1 full time (salary), 1 part time (hourly)
    – I live at home to save money. Only major expense being my 2008 (200,000+km Honda Civic), which i purchased used & with cash
    – I have both my parents, which are fortunate enough to hold jobs to allow us to live upper/middle class, my mom being a real estate investor herself (aka. Financial literacy is not an issue, I am well educated in what is required to save for a down payment & home ownership)

    According to you, I’ve done everything right and should be able to afford my own condo right? …

    … unfortunately, let me bring you back to reality… I cannot. Not even close. Between student debt, car expenses (which i need for work), food & the tiny little bit of entertainment I treat myself to semi-monthly – I am YEARS away from having enough money saved for a 20% down payment (and based on my knowledge, I wouldn’t consider buying something with less than 20% down).

    But here you are, super quick to critique – because on my instagram there are photos of me eating avocado toast & driving nice cars. But let me tell you a little secret – social media is fake. Its a projection of what you WANT people to think your life is. So the 1 time I drove my moms Mercedes, i took a picture & posted it. Or 2 months ago I took photos of me at a nice fancy restaurant – and recycled the pictures over the course of 2 months to make it look like I am doing something fancy and expensive every weekend. (These examples are exaggerated to explain my point… but I see it happening… every day).

    Reality is – most millennials are not living these lavish lives they portray online, and if they do. They are extremely fortunate. I’m not saying it is right for us to deceive our followers/ the general public with our profiles – believe me I think its sad. But we live in a society of instant gratification, and validation through likes, we find ourselves in these traps to ‘fit in’ or prove we are better than everyone else.

    So please, before you’re quick to judge our financial literacy & ability to finance a home – educate yourself on the issue of living wages and an inflated cost of living in major city centers. (you can judge our petty ‘fake life on social media’ all you want though 😉 )

    1. Max

      at 5:03 pm

      It really depends on where you’re trying to buy your property. If you’re living upper middle class, maybe you shouldn’t consider that house in Yorkville. I assume you just graduated. So no.. you haven’t done enough time to be able to afford a condo.

      1. Sarah

        at 9:32 am

        I work in Suburban Mississauga (close to Toronto Pearson). It is not easily accessible on public transit unless I live in Mississauga. So I have two options. 1) Stretch my budget, move to Mississauga, sell my vehicle and commute via public transit, Or 2) live somewhere close enough to commute via a vehicle (I already do 1hr+ each way). Which leaves me with a small radius of Toronto, Brampton, Milton, Mississauga, Oakvile, Burlington, Vaughan, Markham & Woodbridge. Unfortunate for me, these are all incredibly pricey markets and not feasible with my current financial situation.

        I commented on a blog months back regarding the affordability of cities such as St. Catherines (which, with new transit infrastructure will see a steep increase in value), Barrie, Oshawa, Kitchener, etc. These markets however are too far for me to continue to hold my job and commute. So, I have to weigh my options. Relocate buy a house/condo, and find a new job. Or… wait patiently, stay at the job I love – and buy into the market when I am able to. FYI – Yorkville is not even a consideration.

        Lastly, I am just finished school. And not once did I indicate I thought I ‘should’ be ready to buy a house/condo. I was rebutting the idea that @Tina thinks all millennials are not financially competent and buying a house at 23 is a reasonable aspiration.

        1. Carl

          at 1:13 am

          I’m sure no one cares, but here’s my story …

          I only lived in apartments, always with between one and three roommates, until I was 32 years old, at which time I got married. My wife and I lived in an apartment for eight years, after which we bought a two-bedroom semi in northeast Scarborough. Nine years later (when I was just shy of 50) we moved to a small detached in Riverdale. That was about twelve years ago.

          I imagine mine is a fairly typical Canadian middle-class story.

    2. Max

      at 5:25 pm

      A lot of people in other cities, other countries cannot afford homes either. It’s a fact of life. 90% of us can’t buy property in New York or Hong Kong. Big deal.. buy a property further out and wait for a return on your investment.

    3. Tina

      at 5:32 pm

      I’m not going to comment on Instagram likes and followers cause that’s just sad.
      That’s great that you’re already working 60 hours a week and if you’re living at home you should be able to save 20% in no time to buy a starter condo outside of Toronto. Like I’ve said in my previous posts I know 20 somethings that are already home owners so it’s doable, just not in the city unfortunately.

      1. Sarah

        at 9:44 am

        By all means – I think its sad too. Doesn’t mean it is not a very real issue happening with young people who are online. Like I said, my examples were exaggerated. And quite truthfully, I have no time to buy into 90% of it.

        And sure for you its ‘great’. “Oh look, a millennial who works 60 hours a week, that UNHEARD OF!!”. But this is not sustainable. I am burnt out. Sure you need to make sacrifices – I understand that. But to sacrifice 70% of your week (8hr of sleep/ night + 12hrs of work Monday – Friday) just to satisfy physiological needs on Maslow’s hierarchy (food & shelter)?! Is that a way you want to live? Is that a way you want your kids to live?

        Make your own judgment call – I’m just trying to open your eyes to the other side of the ‘millennial’ story.

        1. Tina

          at 10:17 am

          Yes it’s very tiring to work long hours but unfortunately if we want to live in Toronto we have to do it. My kids see how hard we work and understand it. You’re on the right path Sarah, good luck to you.

    4. jeff316

      at 9:00 am

      I agree that Tina needs a reality check, but so do you. Home or condo ownership is not a reasonable expectation to have at age 23. You need to educate yourself about reasonable aspirations.

      1. Sarah

        at 9:46 am

        Hey Jeff316,

        I never said home ownership was a reasonable expectation at 23. That was the whole premise to my comment.

        I was rebutting Tina’s belief that millennials cannot afford homes because they don’t work hard/ spend their money frivolously.

        In a perfect world – I would like to own my first home by 26. Which I don’t think is out of reach.

    5. Tom

      at 10:09 am

      “According to you, I’ve done everything right and should be able to afford my own condo right? … ”

      At 23? That’s a big fat no Ms Millennial. I bought my first property at 33 with my wife, both working full-time.

      No entitlement to see here.

      Anyway, why be in a rush to catch this falling knife?

      1. Chris

        at 10:19 am


        Sarah has clearly explained that she was rebutting Tina’s assertion that a 23 year old should be able to afford a condo, just as she had at the same age in the year 2000.

        1. Sarah

          at 12:28 pm

          Thanks Chris!

          Like I said – I have a fairly in-depth knowledge of the real estate knowledge due to 1) working in the industry & 2) My family being investors for years. I, personally, don’t see a real estate investment as ‘catching a falling knife’.
          As with any investment – there is a good time to buy and a good time to sell. And in the same breath, I would advise myself and others looking at home ownership to wait at this moment. However, in the long run – i believe real estate is a “safe” investment – and something I, personally, am confident holding my money in.

          As for your comment re: entitlement. I urge you to re-read through some of my posts. I work my butt off to be able to do things I want to do. Home ownership one day being one of them. Having wealthy* parents does not always mean things are handed to you on a silver platter.

          *wealth is relative

    6. Boris

      at 2:19 pm


      the concept of ‘living wage’ is a massive load of shit covered avocado toast that you have been fed along with your expectations. You don’t like your lot in life? Do better. Work harder and smarter. Grind it out. NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING. Stop whining. No one cares.

      1. Sarah

        at 3:45 pm

        Based on your cynical responses to peoples comments – I hope you are here trolling.

        But if you’re not – I’m sorry you’re too incompetent to read and understand the arguments set forth in my comments. “Work harder, and smarter” is not always the answer. But again – you might just be too thick headed to understand that. Furthermore – Not once did I imply being owed anything – I work hard for the life I am living.

        Thanks for your daily dose of negativity. As if the world doesn’t have enough.

        1. Boris

          at 7:54 am

          This is the problem with your generation – so sensitive and anything reeking of reality is coloured as ‘negativity’. You don;t like your lot in life – change it. Do better. Stop complaining like a little child.

  12. Drowzee

    at 11:23 pm

    It may be inconceivable to some of us, but people have already been leaving Toronto for the rest of Canada, according to StatsCan: “The Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded sizable losses in intraprovincial migration to the other CMAs in southern Ontario.”

    From the same article: “Movements from Canada’s largest CMAs to other CMAs nearby were also a major phenomenon. In relative terms expressed as rates, the biggest flows from one CMA to another in 2013/2014 were those from Toronto and Vancouver to the smaller CMAs in their respective provinces.” So no, it’s not always an empty threat: Canadians are moving out of our most expensive cities.

  13. T

    at 5:09 am

    Maybe you should get back on that stairmaster and burn off some of your negative energy.

  14. Gwen Van Kleef

    at 9:30 am

    Does anyone remember the 80s when the mortgage rates hit 21%?! We were looking for a house and the mortgage was going to be $2200 a month. Didn’t happen.

  15. Libertarian

    at 10:15 am

    I agree that the 23 year old’s expectations are a little premature, but why are people so upset at her? She’s a true Torontonian – she’s obsessed with real estate!! The real estate industry and the cheerleaders on this site accomplished their mission – convert people to the cult of home ownership. Even Marcus Gee referenced this obsession in his column. David, you should be happy. Chances are she’ll be a client soon enough. She’ll probably even want a place by your office, so that should make it easy for you.

    She’s 23 – shouldn’t she be backpacking through Europe? Shouldn’t she be living downtown with roommates going out every night? Nope, she wants to be in the burbs with a backyard. I’m not sure whether she understands all the work and responsibility that comes with home ownership, but she has the rest of her life to do that. Enjoy your 20s!!

    Disclosure – I’m a homeowner myself, so I’m not anti-home ownership. I just think that people are way too obsessed about it. Owning a home is not the only way to eventually have enough money saved to retire comfortably. There are other ways to do that, which are a lot easier and more profitable.

    1. Tom

      at 10:29 am

      I agree. I actually find owning a home a bit of a drag to be honest. There is no end to the repairs, maintenance, spouse-driven style upgrades, etc. Last week my neighbors decided to pave and stone their backyard and now my fence is leaning over in the middle. The cost and time involved can be huge. Don’t underestimate it. I’m not adamantly against buying a home either but if we didn’t have the kids I think would probably be back to renting a high end apartment, carefree. There is a lot of fantasy involved with millennials and houses it seems. Wait until you get your first hidden roof leak, and some of the shine of that fantasy will wear off believe me.

    2. Boris

      at 2:16 pm

      Because that girl epitomizes the entitled millenial set that is ruining the world with their idiotic ideas and voting for twats like Wynne and Turdeau.

      Also, no one likes a whiner.

      1. Libertarian

        at 10:26 am

        hahaha, I agree that Wynne and Trudeau are twats!

        I blame Wynne’s predecessor for creating the climate that we’re in. So again, this 23 year old is a product of her environment because she wouldn’t have been old enough to vote for McGuinty.

        McGuinty started it, Wynne continued it, which led to Trudeau winning federally, and now every millennial thinks that the good life should be theirs at 23 . Ontarians should be so proud of themselves for what they’ve created!! (sarcasm)

        1. Sarah

          at 12:44 pm

          One thing we all seem to agree with. Our incompetent provincial and federal government…

        2. Boris

          at 7:58 am

          Lock them up! Notley and Wynne and Trudeau and McGuinty.

          JAIL FOR YOU ALL.

  16. Arnold Palmer

    at 8:01 pm

    Geeze. Looks like some of your readers have made commenting on your blog their life’s work.

    Are you familiar with the phrase “the lady doth protest too much?”

  17. JCM

    at 12:15 am

    This post can be summarized thusly:

    “The market is doing great and is very robust. But if OSFI takes the tiny step of requiring that buyers actually be able to afford the homes they’re buying, then the market will crash catastrophically. Also, Millenials are stupid and lazy because they can’t afford to spend 80% of their lifelong earnings on a house (and 1% of their lifetime earnings on my commission).”

  18. Steph

    at 6:51 pm

    I cringed when I read her letter.

    That girl is a massive idiot.

    I’m a millennial- but without the “millennial” mentality.

    My friends lament that they can’t afford a house in Toronto like their parents.

    Newsflash: their interest rates were also 18%.

    Get over it. Buy something you can afford. Life is not over.

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