Photo: James Bombales

Chronic housing unaffordability in Ontario looks to be tempting younger buyer demographics to relocate out of the province in search of homes, according to new insights produced by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

New polling data released today in a news release by OREA finds that 46 percent of prospective homebuyers under the age of 45 have considered or are considering moving out of Ontario in order to afford a home.

The data, which was collected by Abacus Data for OREA’s Housing Affordability in Ontario: Perceptions, Impacts, And Solutions report, surveyed 2,000 adults within Ontario during the first week of June.

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Thirty-three percent of those under 29 years old are ‘definitely’ or ‘very likely’ to buy a home outside of the province at 11 percent and 22 percent, respectively. More than half of the hopeful buyers surveyed — 56 percent — said that they are pessimistic about the possibility of purchasing a property in the community that they want to live in. OREA said in its release that failing to address the housing supply shortage will have a detrimental effect on Ontario’s ability to retain talent and stay competitive.

“The lack of housing supply is leading many to look outside the province for their first homes and that will make it difficult to retain and attract talent in Ontario in the near future,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak in the news release.

OREA noted that there is “widespread support” for government action to tackle housing affordability, and that there are benefits for political parties to address Ontario’s housing issues in election platforms. Thirty-one percent of those polled said that housing affordability should be a “very high” priority for the Ontario government, along with 36 percent who stated it should be a “high” priority.

Among the ideas on how to mitigate affordability challenges, those surveyed supported strategies to combat money laundering in the real estate market with a publicly-searchable registry of property owners (91 percent), tax credits and incentives for home improvements (90 percent), increasing first-time homebuyer tax rebates (89 percent), and turning surplus commercial properties into housing (87 percent).

“The affordability crisis continues to crush the dream of home ownership for many Ontarians and this has been intensified by the economic impact of the pandemic,” said Hudak in the release.

“Governments need to act if we want to create future generations of homeowners and that starts with pro-growth policies that could bring affordability closer to first-time home buyers and address the supply shortage,” he added.

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