11 Canadian Women Reveal How They Bought Their Home & How Much They Spent

Designed by Yazmin Butcher.
Buying a home is the biggest purchase you'll ever make — but who says you have to make it? Welcome to New Lease, a series that examines our long-held beliefs about home ownership and renting in Canada.
I felt like a spoiled brat. The first time someone asked me how I was a homeowner in my twenties, I wanted to curl into a ball and defend my character. I wanted to say that I wasn’t an entitled, coddled millennial whose mommy and daddy gave her money. I wanted to be able to say, “I just worked really hard.” But that wasn’t the truth. And while many people do work really hard, save meticulously, and sacrifice socially in order to buy their homes, that’s not the reality for most people — especially people who live in hot markets like Toronto or Vancouver — who have the great fortune of being able to say they own. Forty percent of home-owning millennials in Canada have had help. They had handouts. They are the lucky ones. 
 
I know this because I am one of those people. I will never be ashamed of what my immigrant parents were able to give me because of how little they each started with and how much they worked, saved, and sacrificed so I could one day feel the need to explain that I wasn’t a spoiled brat. Like true immigrant parents, their main wish was for me to focus on my studies. So, when I went to university in downtown Toronto, while I had a part-time job to handle any “frivolous” expenses (like food), they paid for the biggest one: the roof over my head. They bought an investment property close to my campus. I had a roommate who paid rent and covered most of the mortgage. And, when I was done school, my parents sold that place and from what they made, they gave me my downpayment on the condo I now call home. That’s how I bought it. It wasn’t magic; it was privilege. The support of my parents is why I have a job, a career, and the couch I now call an office. 
 
Now, I pay my mortgage with the help of my partner. That’s another advantage. In the middle of a pandemic when people have lost their savings, are struggling to pay rent, and when the desire and pressure to buy property is on the rise, it’s even more important to demystify the process of buying a home.
Here, women around the country tell us how they really entered the market. Whether it was years ago in a more-forgiving economy, with the help of parents, partners, or on their own during a pandemic after a bout of homelessness, these women get real about homeownership.

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