Calgary

1 in 4 Calgary families delay building retirement nest egg to buy a home: survey

More than one-third of young Calgary families see basic living expenses as a barrier to saving for home ownership, and about a quarter are delaying retirement to get there, according to a new survey.

People are taking 'significant,' 'severe' measures to obtain home ownership, according to Sotheby's

A new study shows one-third of young Calgary families see basic living expenses as a barrier to saving for home ownership, and about a quarter are delaying retirement to get to home ownership. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

More than one-third of young Calgary families see basic living expenses as a barrier to saving for home ownership, and about a quarter are delaying retirement to get there, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Sotheby's Realty and market research firm Mustel Group, looked at obstacles young families faced in Canada's four largest census metropolitan areas — Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal — when looking to buy a home.

In all four cities, 20 per cent of young families delayed their retirement savings to save up to buy their home. Calgarians were the most likely to do so, at 23 per cent. 

"While minimizing or reducing non-essential lifestyle spending is the most common measure … many are also undertaking significant, and at times severe, financial career and personal measures to successfully attain home ownership," the report read.

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The families surveyed weren't just delaying retirement savings — 31 per cent in all four cities pulled from their RRSPs for their down payments. And, RRSP contributions from 25 to 54-year-old Canadians has dropped recently. According to Statistics Canada, contributors in that age range dropped 16 per cent between 2000 and 2013. 

Out of the four cities, Calgarians were the least likely to move back in with family to save up for a down payment, at five per cent.

They were also the most likely to say basic living expenses were the biggest barrier to saving for home ownership, at 38 per cent compared to the average of 33 per cent. 

Another big barrier was credit card debt, with 12 per cent of Calgarians saying it was a barrier, more than the other cities.

Average home price in Calgary: $449K

The report was released the day before another study on home ownership, that found the average Calgary home price is within reach for a single person, based on the city's median income.

Real estate site Zoocasa found the average home price in Calgary in January was $449,420, which would require a $61,305/year income to be affordable. The median income in Calgary is $66,803.

Sotheby's online survey looked at 1,743 families in the four cities between Aug. 9 and Sept. 6, 2018, out of a national panel maintained to be representative of the Canadian population. Margins of error only apply to random samples, but a margin of error on a random sample of the same size would be plus/minus 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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