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Rising housing costs drive nearly half of Ontario graduates to consider out-of-province moves

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Student debt is significantly impacting Ontarians’ ability to get on the property ladder and even has some considering leaving the province altogether, according to a new poll by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). 

Conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of OREA, “The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Homeownership” report reveals that over half of post-secondary graduates in the province have incurred student debt to finance their education, with 53 per cent still trying to repay it. 


High costs and student debt drive graduates to consider leaving Ontario


The poll highlights a concerning trend among recent graduates who face substantial student debt burdens, making it increasingly challenging to save for a home. With student debt often cited as the primary hurdle to homeownership, many young Ontarians are postponing milestones such as moving out of the family home, getting married, and starting a family.

This situation is forcing some to look for other options in more affordable provinces, with 42 per cent of graduates considering leaving the province for a lower cost of living and more attainable housing.

OREA CEO Tim Hudak emphasized the urgent need for collaboration between governments and the industry to tackle the housing affordability crisis fueled by student loan debt.

“Student debt is not merely a financial burden; it’s the biggest barrier to the Canadian dream of homeownership for many young Ontarians and their families,” Hudak adds. He highlights that this issue threatens to reduce the number of young homeowners in Ontario and calls for proactive, pro-homeownership policies.


Majority of graduates express interest in owning residential property


Despite the financial challenges of student debt, 75 per cent of post-secondary graduates still strongly desire to own a home. This sentiment aligns with the growing support for government interventions to address housing affordability, with at least 80 per cent of graduates endorsing such measures.


OREA presents recommendations to ease the burden of student loan debt


OREA has put forward a series of recommendations to address the housing affordability crisis. These measures include allowing graduates to alleviate a portion of their OSAP loan through the ‘First Home Savings Account,’ matching government contributions, eliminating interest on provincial student loans, extending the grace period for OSAP loan repayment, simplifying access to the Repayment Assistance Plan, and creating an online financial education hub.

OREA President Tania Artenosi emphasizes the need for pro-homeownership policies, stating, “Student debt casts a shadow over this dream, leaving aspiring buyers caught between their educational ambitions and the desire for a place to call their own. We need to work to empower the next generation of homeowners, and that starts with pro-homeownership policies aimed at alleviating the pressures of student loan debt.”


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