Millennials Not Giving Up on Metro Vancouver over Affordability: Vancity Report

May 17, 2016

Following a wave of media stories implying there is a mass exodus of millennials from Metro Vancouver, a new study commissioned by Vancity Credit Union and released May 17 suggests this is far from the truth.

In a survey of 500 18- to 35-year-olds conducted by the Mustel Group in April 2016, 83 per cent of respondents said that in five years they expect to still be living within Metro Vancouver – either in their current municipality (61 per cent) or in another municipality within Metro Vancouver (22 per cent).

Sixty-eight per cent said that they have “considered giving up and leaving Metro Vancouver,” but that does not seem to translate into action.

In fact, most millennials surveyed believe they’ll be able to buy a home within a decade. The majority said they expect to buy within five (28 per cent) or 10 years (35 per cent), while just 13 per cent said they never expect to own a home.

These results grate somewhat against the findings that 93 per cent of respondents said homeownership in the city is unaffordable, with 66 per cent saying it is also unaffordable to rent in Metro Vancouver.

In fact, nearly a third of respondents have found a way to afford home ownership, as 30 per cent of them said they own their home. Just over a third (35 per cent) are currently renting and another 35 per cent are still living with family.

Read BCREA's recent study that says young people fleeing Metro Vancouver is a "myth"

Vancity also found the proportion of respondents who own their home versus renting or living with family varies widely when responses were divided into older and younger age categories.

More than 40 per cent of 25- to 35-year-olds said they own their home, compared with 36 per cent of that older age group renting and 23 per cent still living at home. This contrasts with 61 per cent of respondents between 18 and 24 who said they are still living at home, while less than eight per cent of the younger age group are home owners.

Aside from living with family, other trade-offs for affording Vancouver life were cited as:

  • spending less or eating out less (54 per cent);
  • living in a smaller home (47 per cent); and
  • delaying purchase of a home (41 per cent).

The report is part of the launch of a new Vancity campaign called Don’t Give Up, which launches this week and aims to offer millennials advice to help them afford life in Vancouver. The campaign webpage contains a blog containing tips, tricks and “lifestyle hacks” and is using the social hashtag #dontgiveup.

William Azaroff, Vancity’s vice-president of community investment, said of the report and the campaign, “We don’t want millennials to give up. Clearly, they don’t want to give up either. That’s why we’re looking for ways to amplify millennial voices in hopes of bringing all the right people and organizations to the table.”