CANMORE, ALTA. —
For the vast majority of young Canadians, the dream of owning a home is no longer a given. In fact, for many, the likelihood of becoming a homeowner is becoming a more distant prospect the older they get.
More than 80 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 28 – also known as Generation Z – worry they will not be able to afford a home in their city of choice thanks to soaring real-estate prices and increasing cost of living, according to a recent survey conducted by Sotheby’s International Realty.
Half have already given up on the dream of owning a single-family home.
Researchers with the luxury real estate brand surveyed 1,502 Gen Z Canadians living in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal as part of the survey aimed at quantifying the sentiment among the next generation of first-time homebuyers.
The top financial barrier cited by respondents was the ability to save for a down payment while managing their current living expenses – a factor that is not expected to ease thanks to rising inflation rates.
Interestingly, despite these challenges, Generation Z’s desire to own single family homes remains high, with 70 per cent reporting that they would want to purchase a single-family home in their peak earning years if budget were not a consideration.
Half of those surveyed say it’s more realistic that their first home purchase will be a higher-density housing type, such as a condo, an attached home, or a townhome. Yet still, 39 per cent report that they are most likely to buy a single-family home as their first residence.
“It is clear from our research that while rising housing affordability challenges are top-of-mind for Canada’s Generation Z homebuyers, the desire and demand for home ownership and specifically, single family home ownership, has not subsided from previous generations,” Don Kottick, President and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said in a press release.
“The older segment of this generation is now on the brink of first-time homeownership and are poised to be both an influential consumer force in the Canadian housing market, and a prominent voice in defining housing needs in our communities.”
National home sales in Canada set a new annual record this year, rising 8.6 per cent from September to October.
The total sale of single family one-storey and two-storey homes, as well as townhouses and apartments, saw month-over-month increases across about three-quarters of all local markets, including all major Canadian cities, marking the largest month-over-month growth since July 2020.
But, according to the MLS Home Price Index, year-over-year Canadian home price levels have seen a growth of 23.4 per cent.
To put that in context, if you were to do a like-for-like comparison of houses, a four-bedroom house in a suburb of a typical Canadian city has gone up by 20 per cent in the past year.
And, according to Re/Max’s housing market outlook report published last week, housing prices are expected to increase steadily in 2022, with a short supply of homes many popular regions pushing up costs further.
CALGARY LEADS THE WAY FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS
The results of Sotheby’s survey show that Calgary and Montreal are attracting first-time home buyers from other major Canadian cities and retaining locals of the same age group thanks to comparatively affordable real estate prices and strong job markets.
Of all the cities included in the survey, Calgary’s Generation Z adults were among the most optimistic about their prospects of home ownership, and the most confident in their ability to specifically purchase a single-family home.
With single family home prices averaging $540,900 in Calgary, a fraction of that in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where average prices have increased to $1,540,432, and Metro Vancouver, where benchmark prices have surged to $1,850,500, those in Calgary the most confident in their dream of owning a single-family home.
In Montreal, 79 per cent of respondents think they will afford a primary residence in the city in their lifetime, with 57 per cent reporting that they are “very likely” to do so.
Interestingly, despite steep price gains, 15 per cent of Vancouver-area Gen Z adults already own their primary residence, the highest rate among Gen Z’s in Canada’s largest metropolitan areas.
However, 82 per cent of Vancouverites who have not yet purchased their first home are worried that they will not be able to in their community of choice due to escalating real estate prices.
Fifty-two per cent of Toronto residents surveyed do not believe they will ever buy a single-family home – a figure higher than in Montreal and Calgary, but lower than in Vancouver.
Despite high prices and a red-hot market, the report indicates that over 70 per cent of young Toronto buyers remain optimistic, but half of those surveyed say that their first home will most likely be a higher-density housing type.
Twenty-five per cent of respondents reported that their first home purchase will likely be a condominium, while 18 per cent said that their first home will be an attached home/townhouse and seven per cent said that their first home purchase will be a duplex/triplex.
– With files from Jennifer Ferreira, Anthony Vasquez-Peddie and CTV Toronto
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Coronavirus: Canada Post employees punished for N95 masks – CTV News
Canada Post workers risk being sent home from work if they wear masks other than ones issued by the corporation, even if their masks are an upgrade in safety.
Employees who buy their own N95 masks and bring them to work are being told to switch to company issued cloth masks or risk being sent home.
“The mask requirements, like our vaccine mandate, are mandatory and necessary under direction from the (Employment and Social Development Canada [ESDC]),” a spokesperson for Canada Post said in an emailed statement. “Therefore anyone at work must comply.”
“If they don’t have the masks we’ve provided, we have additional masks and disposable medical masks on hand. If an employee still does not wish to comply, they are asked to leave the workplace.”
Canada Post said Public Health Agency of Canada supports the use of cloth masks and that the company following directives from the ESDC that require employees to wear company supplied masks to ensure their quality.
“The company fully supports these guidelines and therefore requires all employees to wear a Canada Post-supplied face covering, which is either a reusable cloth face covering or a disposable medical mask,” Canada Post said.
“Canada Post continues to monitor best practices and recommendations with respect to face coverings, and will update our requirements accordingly.”
In an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) National President Jan Simpson said the union is “concerned” that Canada Post is refusing to allow its members to wear N95 masks.
“Research on the new Omicron variant has established it is more transmissible through shared air than earlier variants,” he said in the statement.
“The union has asked Canada Post to provide N95 masks or suitable alternatives to all postal workers, and at the very least, allow those who’ve purchased their own N95 or KN95 masks to wear them. As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, Canada Post Corporation should be doing everything in its power to protect postal workers, who continue to help people stay home and stay safe.”
From howitzers to heli-bombs: Canadian province fights rising avalanche risk
British Columbia is rolling out the big guns – literally – to control avalanches that are forcing closures on some major roads for the first time in decades as the Western Canadian province grapples with a snowier-than-usual winter.
B.C. was rocked in 2021 by extreme weather events, including a record-breaking heatwave, wildfires and unprecedented rains that washed out highways and cut off Vancouver, its main city and home to Canada’s busiest port, from the rest of the country.
The province, Canada’s third-largest by population, uses bombs thrown from helicopters, remote-triggered explosives, and a howitzer gun manned by Canada’s military to keep roads safe. But frequent closures for avalanche control are disrupting critical routes to Vancouver.
At the start of this month, B.C.’s alpine snowpack was 15% higher than average, according to the Weather Network channel.
Extreme winter weather, including November’s torrential precipitation, a deep freeze in late December and an early January thaw, has created weak layers in the snowpack, making steep mountain slopes more prone to avalanches that can release without warning onto valleys below.
“It’s been such a volatile fall and winter season so far, we have had rare ‘extreme’ avalanche warnings go out for parts of (B.C.’s) south coast in December and the risk is still considerable in the interior,” said Tyler Hamilton, a Weather Network meteorologist.
Avalanche control missions involve closing sections of highways while teams use explosives to pre-emptively trigger smaller slides, preventing the snowpack from becoming too deep and unstable.
This winter a section of Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon, 150 km (93 miles) northeast of Vancouver, needed avalanche control for the first time in 25 years, B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said.
Along Highway 99 north of Vancouver, avalanche control and risk-reduction activities are three times the seasonal average, with some slide paths producing avalanches big enough to hit the highway for the first time in more than a decade.
Avalanche control in Allison Pass further south on Highway 3, another key route connecting Vancouver to the rest of Canada, has also been above average, the ministry said.
All three highways were damaged by the November floods, and a busy avalanche control season is putting further strain on provincial resources. The Coquihalla Highway near Hope only reopened to regular traffic on Wednesday, and provincial authorities said record snow and avalanche risk had delayed repairs to Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon.
Further east in the province, avalanche teams in Rogers Pass, a rugged 40-km section of Highway 1 running beneath 135 slide paths in Glacier National Park, are dealing with nearly 30% more snowfall than usual and control missions are also above average.
Highway 1 is Canada’s main east-west artery and approximately 3,000 vehicles traverse Rogers Pass every day in winter. A major Canadian Pacific rail line runs parallel to the highway.
Avalanche control missions involve soldiers from the 1st Regiment of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, which is stationed in Rogers Pass in winter. They use a howitzer to fire shells packed with 4 kg (8.8 lbs) of explosives in the direction of loaded avalanche paths at 17 different locations along the highway.
“Our goal is to bring down as much snow as we can and bring the hazard down to a point where it’s safe to open the highway,” said Jim Phillips, acting avalanche operations coordinator for Parks Canada, which runs avalanche control in the national parks.
The Rogers Pass program has been running since the highway opened in 1961. Before that, CP trains crossing the Selkirk Mountains in winter ran a higher risk of deadly snow slides, including one that killed 62 railway workers in 1910.
So far this winter the team has fired 333 howitzer rounds, produced 197 controlled avalanches and closed the highway for 43 hours over seven separate days.
Phillips said his team also uses heli-bombing and remote-trigger systems to set off detonations, and spends C$600,000 ($480,346) a year on explosives alone.
“It’s a balancing act. You want to keep traffic moving and minimize closures, but also minimize risk to people using the transportation corridor,” he added.
And winter weather in Canada is far from over.
Avalanche control is typically needed until late April or early May, depending on the snowpack, and the Weather Network forecasts above average winter storm systems returning to B.C. in February and March.
“We’re still in a La Niña situation,” said the Weather Network’s Hamilton, referring to a weather pattern that tends to result in above-average precipitation and cold temperatures in B.C.
($1 = 1.2491 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Paul Simao)
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