It’s the ultimate dream for many; marriage, children and a home.

However, some 20 and 30-year-olds in Ontario say it feels unrealistic to have all three.

Kitchener resident, Rory Sitar, is in his mid-20s. He and his girlfriend just purchased their first home, a semi-detached.

“The reality was that we had to put a lot of things on hold and I can’t see a timeline even in the future where engagement or starting a family becomes any real thing,” he said.

Sitar is just one of many young Ontarians who say they are prioritizing homeownership over other major life milestones, like marriage or having children.

According to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors, the average price of a residential property in January 2022 was $955,665.

Taylor Prinz, a 26-year-old Kitchener resident, said she and her boyfriend have been saving since 2017. In 2019, they were ready to start looking but then the pandemic hit and prices skyrocketed. Homes she would have previously seen listed around $400,000 to $500,000 are now going for well beyond that.

“It just sold for a million. I was like oh, haha, a million uh? That’s a lot,” she said.

Prinz and her boyfriend are living with family so that they can continue to save. In the meantime, even a small wedding feels beyond reach.

“We want to see how much a house is going to take from us before we plan anything like that.”

Sitar says he isn’t even thinking about having children right now.

“We did really stretch to get in and I think it will be a while before we really find ourselves in a financial position where we can support additional mouths to feed or anything like that,” he said.

“I really just want to recognize my luck and privilege,” he added, talking about the fact that the family gifted the couple some money to help with their down payment. “Without help we would have never been able to get in.”

“Even people who make a healthy income together, it was just simply impossible alone.”

Economics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and Kings College Jason Dean said, “there is a link between higher home prices and higher rent and fertility decisions.”

I have added that the choice to delay children is no longer unique, thanks to increasing housing costs.

“In one particular study they found it could delay someone’s choice to have a child by three to four years.”

In Ontario, the average age of a first-time mother is now 32, compared to 28 back in 1991.

And according to a recent Statistics Canada study, a quarter of women surveyed aged 15 to 49 changed their fertility plans due to the pandemic. The pandemic has also been credited for the sharp rise in housing costs.

“The cost does impact growing your family or even thinking about growing your family because how could you possibly do that and afford to live,” Guelph resident Jessica Luttmann said.,

Luttmann is married with a young daughter, and says “I would definitely want to own a home now that I have a daughter. I want a permanent place for us to be. The problem is, rent is rising with the cost of buying a home so it’s getting really hard for us to save or even think of saving close to what would be a down payment now.”

Luttmann says they pay $2,340 a month to rent their townhome, and that daycare costs roughly $1,000 a month. Those expenses alone make it feel impossible to save for a down payment

Despite going to school and getting a good job, many feel the system is against them.

“At this point, it’s like what’s the point? I’ve done everything right and I continue to do everything right,” Luttmann said.

“I went to Laurier, I stayed home, I worked part time, I barley took out any student loans, I got a good paying job and to look at the market and realize the opportunities that my parents afforded weren’t offered to me was pretty hard to swallow. And like I said, I got lucky,” Sitar explained.

Over the past year, home prices have increased by nearly 40 per cent.

“Incomes certainly haven’t increased by anywhere near that amount,” Dean said.

For many, homeownership would mean stability and paying towards their own equity.

A dream that feels impossible, without help.

“Even people who make a healthy income together it was just simply impossible alone,” Sitar added.

For young people like Prinz, staying at home to save money does help but it also makes her feel like she’s being held back.

“I kind of feel like I am a trapped, almost as a teenager. I don’t feel like an adult and it kind of sucks, because I don’t want to feel like an adult just in my 30s. I want to start adulting now.”

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