Study: It Takes 5 – 27 Years to Save a Down Payment in Toronto

Following a nationwide survey of over 9,000 home seekers, Point2 Homes discovered that 64 per cent of the young potential homebuyers in Toronto would like to buy their own home in less than a year.

However, the study also shows how Millennials’ expectations come into conflict with their budgetary realities: 24 per cent of the Gen Y survey takers have savings under $10,000 and 12 per cent of them stated that they hadn’t managed to save anything at all at the time they were taking the survey.

This is probably happening because Millennials tend to underestimate, in some cases by a significant margin, the amount they will need to cover their down payment. The Toronto real estate market exhibits less outrageous home prices than Vancouver, but Millennials here don’t have an accurate view of the market: 70 per cent of Gen Y prospective buyers think they will need under $50,000, but the average down payment in the city was $62,056 at the end of the second quarter.

Homeownership Dreams Meet Market Reality in Toronto

So how long would it take for a Millennial couple family to save for a down payment? According to, Canadians only save 4.4 per centof their income every month, on average. Provided Millennial couples only set aside this much of their income each month, they would need no less than 21 years to save enough for a down payment in Ontario’s capital.

However, the household saving rate fell even more, reaching a meager 3.4 per cent. This means the time frame would increase to an even more unattainable 27 years.

But what would happen if Toronto Millennials were a bit more determined to move into a home they can call their own? Assuming a more driven Millennial couple set aside 20 per cent of their incomeevery month, as the 50-30-20 financial rule advises, they would save enough for the average down payment in a little under five years.

7 Canadian Markets Out of Reach for Millennials, Toronto Not One of Them

If that still sounds discouraging, a change of perspective might help: there are seven markets in Canada where Millennial couples might never afford a home. In West Vancouver, Gen Y-ers would need 35 years to save for the down payment alone and in Vancouver it would take 20 years, even if they set aside 20 per cent of their income.

In all the other 7 markets (Oakville, ON, Burnaby, BC, North Vancouver, BC, Richmond Hill, ON, and Richmond, BC), Gen Y couple families are looking at over 15 years of savings just to cover the down payment for the average home.

Toronto’s average saving time is nowhere near that, but it still discourages many Millennials from trying. High home prices are an issue, but low incomes definitely contribute to and deepen the problem, a fact that becomes apparent in the Greater Toronto Area as a whole. The majority of the cities here post an average income for Millennials of $67,880, with only Oshawa and Clarington Millennial couple families making an average of $88,320 a year. The combination of income and lower home prices make these two GTA cities some of the most affordable for Millennials (it would take Gen Y-ers approx. one and a half years to save for their down payment here, if they set aside 20 per cent of their income).

On the upside, nine of the 40 most affordable cities for Millennials are in Ontario, with Timmins being the most Millennial-friendly city when it comes to homeownership opportunities. The other cities are Sault Ste. Marie, Chatham-Kent, Thunder Bay, Greater Sudbury, North Bay, Sarnia, Cornwall, and St. Thomas.

In these cities, as well as a few others around the country, Millennial couples who are striving for a shot at homeownership have a real chance of reaching their goal with a little careful planning, as all these cities have average saving time frames of under one year.

Toronto is one of the markets where Millennials have a real shot at becoming home owners and, given its attractive business scene and amazing lifestyle options, it’s no wonder young professionals find it so appealing.