Canada’s Baby Boomers are moving into retirement age, but nearly a quarter of them still have adult kids living at home.
That’s according to data from a new survey by real estate agency Royal LePage, looking at baby boomers in Canada’s housing market.
The survey found 23 per cent of all boomer households — those aged 54 to 72, including parents and non-parents alike — still have at least one adult child living at home.
Among those with children at home, 44 per cent expect those kids to flee the coop by age 25. But a full 9 per cent expect their kids to stay in the family home beyond age 35. In British Columbia, nearly a quarter — 24 per cent — expect their kids to stay at home past 35.
For Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage, the fact that kids are living at home in such large numbers in B.C. — the priciest part of the country for real estate — is a sign that Canada’s rapidly-growing house prices are forcing some to live with their parents longer.
“The cost of living and particularly the cost of housing is keeping people at home,” he told HuffPost Canada by phone.
According to recent data from Royal Bank of Canada, home ownership costs in Canada spiked to their highest levels in nearly three decades in the first quarter of this year, spurred by rising interest rates and persistently high house prices in some markets, such as Toronto and Vancouver.
But house prices are not the only factor involved. Soper notes that young people today are on the whole staying in school longer, and that’s especially true for young women.
He argues there’s a cultural shift here, too, in that there’s “definitely a lot more involvement by parents in their adult children’s lives,” he said.
“I’m a later baby boomer and it was quite uncommon among my friends for parents to be paying for part of the house that they buy,” Soper said. “You just waited until you had enough money.”
Not so today. The Royal LePage survey found that 47 per cent of baby boomers are willing to “subsidize” their child’s purchase of a home — a number Soper described as “startlingly high.”
Boomers ‘in great shape financially’
But many of those parents can afford it.
“Boomers are, as a group, in great shape financially,” Soper said. “They’ve got their mortgages under control and are sitting on a lot of accumulated equity, much more than they ever dreamed.”
While some other surveys have found that aging Canadians largely want to stay in their homes, the Royal LePage survey found that nearly a third of them — 32 per cent — are planning on buying a new home in the next five years.
Some are planning on downsizing to a condo once their kids have left home (32 per cent), but a larger share, 45 per cent, are looking at buying a detached home.
Fleeing the priciest cities
Soper says many boomers will be looking to sell their homes in Canada’s largest and priciest cities, with an eye on less expensive suburbs and cottage countries near large cities.
That would mean “some alleviation of the critical supply shortage” in single-family homes, especially in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, Soper said.
At the same time, the trend will mean upward pressure on condo prices in suburban areas and in recreational areas near the major cities, Soper predicted.
The Royal LePage survey was carried out between July 12 and July 17, 2018, polling 1,000 Canadians aged 54 to 72. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.