Since moving back to Québec in April to help my parents deal with an illness, my plan has been to buy a house nearby. Unfortunately, despite having made offers on two different properties so far, I’m still in the market looking for a place to call my own. On the plus side this means I can continue living with my parents rent free, which makes saving money super easy.
I feel extremely fortunate to have parents that are willing to put up with me while I try to find a place of my own — especially since they aren’t charging me anything to live with them. But ask anyone who has moved in with their parents as an adult, and they’ll likely tell you that it isn’t easy (wether free or not). It’s not that my parents are bad people (they’re pretty awesome actually), but you get used to living on your own and having your own routine. It’s also nice to have a bit of privacy, which parents have an uncanny ability to deprive you of.
Obviously I considered renting an apartment. Even with the added cost, I figured it would be better for me to live on my own. It’s not like I can’t afford to rent. The problem is that twelve-month leases are popular in Québec and it’s difficult to rent a place without being forced to sign one. Being locked in for a year isn’t exactly a great idea when your ultimate goal is to buy a home within a couple months. Living with my parents allows me to avoid having to break a lease, which can be costly and time consuming. It also means I only have to move once.
The funny thing is that apparently my situation isn’t unique. There’s been a lot of talk lately about millennials still living with their folks – despite having decent paying jobs. Times recently published an article on the phenomena. So has Forbes.
Personally I don’t find this trend surprising. While I can’t speak for my American counterparts, rent has become expensive in most of the big Canadian cities. When I was living in Calgary, for example, I couldn’t find anything for less than $900-1000/month — most of which were illegal basement suites with nothing included and in less than ideal locations. Because I wanted to save money, I chose to live with roommates instead. The situation is even worse in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.
Houses have become prohibitively expensive as well — particularly if you’re living on a single income. When my parents bought their first home in British Columbia back in the mid 80s, the cost represented roughly 2-3 times my dad’s annual salary. Today the same house would likely cost him 5-6 times his annual salary (if not more). Even in Québec, where prices are generally lower, houses have gone up in value. My parents bought a home in Québec City in 2001 for around $100k and sold it four years later for almost double that. Today, the same house is worth over $300k. This is obviously great for home owners, but less so for millennials when you realize that salaries haven’t kept up with the pace.
Fortunately for me, where I’m living now, prices are still relatively low. Even then, I’m only looking at the lower end of the price spectrum, hoping to find a fixer upper that I can invest some “sweat equity” into. I’m also looking for a place that has a rental to help me pay for the mortgage. The problem with my strategy is that most of the houses that meet my criteria have problems, hence why both previously mentioned offers have fallen through. Until I find that perfect match, however, I’m going to stay with my parents.