Young adults in Toronto despair about whether they’ll ever buy a home

The share of young adults who aspire to own a home is declining fast in Canada’s largest city — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no plans to change it, according to a new poll.

A March survey by the Angus Reid Institute found 52 percent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 said they’d like to become first-time homebuyers. That is considerably lower than the 61 percent of people in the age range who were homeowners in the early 2000s, the polling firm found. The results come as the city’s real estate market continues to soar and as Vancouver and Toronto have been rocked by speculation and foreign investment, which some argue have helped inflate the Canadian property market.

“Young adults in the Toronto area are expressing fear and uncertainty, and their decisions to be renters may be a result of them feeling that they are unable to make that step to owning a home,” pollster Shachi Kurl said.

Sixty-one percent of those surveyed say they are “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that young people will ever be able to own a home. That figure has declined 12 points since February, when 52 percent of those polled were pessimistic about the outlook for millennials who want to buy a home.

Survey participants were also twice as likely to say they would be likely to rent if they couldn’t afford to buy a home in their city. In March, 26 percent of residents between the ages of 18 and 34 said they were likely to rent, compared with 13 percent who said they’d be very likely to move. At the time, about one-quarter (25 percent) of Toronto residents said they would be “not at all likely” to buy in the future.

Young renters were also more likely to report poorer household finances, a sign that people in that age range may be facing the stress of rising rents and fees or paying off debt from student loans.

Still, more than half of renters in Toronto said they believe there will be a home for them when they’re ready to buy one. The percentage of Toronto renters who believe that way has increased 15 points since February, when 43 percent of people said they did.

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