VICE: People often choose buying over renting because there is stability and community for family life. What changes when we stop buying houses?
Milevsky: We suddenly lose the stickiness of our labour force. It’s very important for Canada to have more than just high wages keeping us here. The last thing we want is to be a commodity labour market. What’s stopped us from doing that is the connections we’ve had to our community. If the younger generation sees housing as unaffordable and uninteresting they’re more likely to move internationally.
People may lose their anchor to a particular geographic location. I want my neighbourhood park to be clean and green and well maintained. If I just live their temporarily, do we lose our interest in the environment beyond our immediate needs? There’s also the transient nature of politicking. Who are your constituents if communities change?
Kershaw: If you opt out of home ownership, you opt out of the most secure opportunity for starting families and to have your kids in the same school, childcare, and community. Home ownership has also been a route to get access to the ground and playing outside. Renting in bigger cities is not having the kind of stock suitable for families. Big cities aren’t losing 20 somethings, it’s when the biological clock starts ticking you see a bit more of an exodus.
If renting is going to become a common practise for adults, systems such as childcare need to be improved. I’d like my child to be in the same childcare space for a few years. I don’t want to move around from neighbourhood to neighbourhood because I’m being evicted because my landlord can make more on other renters. We need to think about how renting can create that kind of security.