Photo: Nick Kenrick/Flickr
Millennials in Vancouver have it worse than their counterparts in 10 other major Canadian cities, at least when it comes to discretionary income.
That’s the claim of a new report from credit union Vancity. Released last week, the report shows that in 2015, the average Millennial couple in Vancouver — defined as two people between the ages of 25 and 34 — was left with disposable income of $54,460 after accounting for income tax, other government contributions and healthcare.
For Millennials interested in buying a home, that’s a problem. According to Vancity, when the cost of essentials like food and transit is subtracted from disposable income, just $41,609 is left. Add in $44,354 in yearly home maintenance expenses — the average across all Metro Vancouver condos, townhomes and single detached homes — and -$2,745 is left in discretionary income.
That’s the lowest in Canada. At $3,379, Toronto’s discretionary income is the second lowest in the country, while Victoria’s is a far-away third at $12,200. Edmonton and Calgary are at the high end of the scale, at $47,356 and $41,933, respectively.
The numbers look a little better for Millennial couples that limit themselves to purchasing either a townhome or condo at the average price in Vancouver. Vancity calculates that doing the former would yield yearly discretionary income of $9,549, while doing the latter would leave about $16,422.
However, stats are significantly worse when a child is added to the mix. Vancity estimates that paying for full-time care for one child would cost $14,580 per year, and notes that a typical Millennial couple purchasing property in Vancouver at the 2016 average price would go into debt by $17,325 annually just to cover basic expenses, plus childcare.
Vancity’s lengthy list of recommendations to improve the situation for Millennials includes using inclusionary zoning to increase the availability of family-friendly housing in Vancouver and Victoria, and the creation of federal programs to support home ownership.
“It does not need to be this way,” the report concludes.