By Sofia Alberga
Over the past decade, headlines have surfaced across Ontario about the lack and extreme price of housing. The lack of affordable housing not only imposes a socio-economic burden on the province but specifically impacts the health and well-being of students as they fight to find a voice in this crisis. Post-secondary students are greatly targeted in this issue as they have to balance the stress of school, work, and loans, while finding available and affordable housing.
In Canada, the demand for property does not match the amount of housing available to purchase. This low housing supply often leads to bidding wars, commonly in favor of buyers who are willing to pay more than the asking price- creating higher prices in the real estate market. This leaves residents in Ontario (such as students) in a very difficult position.
Many students from Canada and abroad turn to parents to help with rent,
“We came here to study, but they are not able to fully concentrate because they have so many other worries,” parents of a York University student share.
“The rent, food, schooling and everything is very expensive now with inflation, so as international students, we are stuck struggling,” a York University student adds.
The Ontario Real Estate Association also conducted a survey for young home owners to understand the issue further. The survey found that 4 in 10 parents of young homeowner adults, classified as aged 18 to 38, helped their children when they bought the property. Of those who helped, 44 per cent used their savings while 15 per cent borrowed from their retirement savings or investments. Therefore, the housing crisis in Ontario not only targets students but also their families as they struggle to find money to help their children.
With all this in mind, the real estate market has changed this past year. Housing prices are down, however, interest rates are on the rise. Where the money is saved on lower house prices, it is spent on higher interest rates. Those who are unable to buy a property on the spot borrow money from the bank (and this lent money is called interest). Therefore as the interest rates the bank charges for this loan skyrockets, housing prices usually decline. At this time, people say it is a buyer’s market not a seller’s market as the value of property lowers, but this ignores how expensive interest rates are. It’s still not easy to buy. The Ontario real estate market is on a never ending cycle as when interest rates may lower, housing prices will rise once again. The cycle is not a fix for those who are looking and unable to afford property in Ontario. A solution needs to be implemented in order to ensure affordable and available housing for those who are struggling while balancing additional costs in their lives.