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Baby boomers are about to become richer, an estimated $750 billion richer.
That’s about how much Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s deputy chief economist, says Canadians aged 50-75 stand to inherit from recently departed relatives in the next decade. The hefty windfall has possible implications for the country’s housing market, he suggests.
“This significant wealth transfer could impact important economic variables such as wealth distribution, savings, labour market participation, startup activity, and real estate markets,” writes Tal, in a report “The Looming Bequest Boom — What Should We Expect?”
CIBC’s projection is based on responses to an April online survey of Canadians aged 50-75 who have already received an inheritance — about half that age group has — though Tal admits “guesstimating the amount of that wave of potential inheritance is tricky.”
For the housing market in particular, Tal highlights several potential impacts of the bequest boom, but he says the effect “will be gradual.”
“In large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver it might modestly ease the shortage of supply of low-rise units,” suggests Tal.
In an interview on Monday with BNN, the economist clarifies this point. “One of the reasons [for the shortage] is that most of those low-rises are being occupied by those people who are relatively older,” he tells the news network.
“In absolute terms, more Canadians over the age of 75 will pass away in the coming decade,” he writes in the report.
Tal says that with Canadian home prices rising — the average home price last month was $508,097, having increased 13.1 per cent from a year ago — that “it’s reasonable to expect” those receiving inheritances in the coming decade will share the wealth with other family members.
In fact, some 65 per cent of Canadian Millennials polled for a recent BMO report expect to draw on family funds to help cover up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of their home when they buy.
“That [trickle down] might have a positive impact on homeownership rates among younger Canadians, and would probably increase overall spending on home renovations,” adds Tal.