Tanguy Furniture | The press

When my father decided to repaint the walls on the ground floor in early May, I should have known. That something unusual was going on. I was finishing my freshman year at university. I only lived half the time with my parents, in the suburbs of Montreal. More than an hour and a half by public transport from the faculty.

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I went on a trip after school with my brother and two friends. The classic European initiation journey by train. Sunday in London, Monday in Paris, Wednesday in Brussels, Friday in Amsterdam. Time to get lost in Berlin for 12 hours, and presto! we took the night train back to Venice. We’ve seen a few of them from the country (eight in total) this month and a half.

I came back at the end of June. The next day, Paul DiPietro offered the Canadian the Stanley Cup. My parents had sold the house – I didn’t even know it was for sale! – and decided to move… to Quebec. I was in the water. St. Laurent struck. Without penny or fixed address. My savings skyrocketed during brewery tours in Amsterdam, football shirt shopping in Rome and celebrations for Olympique de Marseille’s historic Champions League victory.

Fortunately, my girlfriend suddenly had the brilliant idea to hand me the dustpan and offer me a roof, in exchange for my participation in the rent and the household. She took pity on me. We had only been in a relationship for three months. The four of us lived on a dimly lit ground floor for a year. Then as a couple for two years, in an apartment we rented for less than $400.

I still live in the same neighborhood 30 years later, exactly the same elevation, one street to the west. Behind my apartment at the time, where there were shooting galleries, a six and a half is rented today for $2,750 a month (not a figure of speech).

You cannot stop progress or inflation. 20 years ago, many musicians indie of America adopted my neighborhood because the rents were affordable there. This is no longer the case. You almost have to have Elon Musk’s resources to rent the old apartment of his ex, Claire Boucher (aka Grimes). I’m just exaggerating…

“When I grow up, I’m going to live in our house,” Fiston said when he was little. He didn’t project himself into Tanguy. He just didn’t care where his parents were staying, if at all. We were quick to burst his (real estate) bubble, which made him understand that he probably wouldn’t have the resources.

He still hopes to live nearby when he decides to leave the family nest to fly alone. The problem is that the rents there are outrageously expensive. Tenants lucky enough to pay a reasonable price don’t flinch. They are crossing their fingers so as not to become the next victims of “renovation” or repossessions.

An old friend I hadn’t seen for a long time recently told me that after losing his house twice in a short period of time, he decided to buy a house in the suburbs. There was no longer any question of his children being forced to switch schools according to each other’s speculative real estate ambitions.

I wonder if my sons will have to move out of town too, if they ever want to be homeowners. Although the FBI just created a new home ownership tool (pronounced gluten intolerance). The CELIAPP, as my colleague Marie-Eve Fournier pointed out, will mainly benefit the richest. They can set aside $40,000 in an account that offers the combined benefits of an RRSP and a TFSA, to acquire a first ownership.

How many years will it take most of Sonny’s generation—working part-time in a mobile canteen (serving the best burgers in town)—to put aside $40,000? And to what extent can they really handle the real estate boom? Knowing that 94% of Quebec’s population earn $100,000 or less per year, who can afford to become a homeowner on the island of Montreal?

My colleague Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot did the exercise last June. To buy a single-family home at the average price in Montreal, experts explained, a couple should ideally earn more than $212,500 a year, after making a 20% down payment.

The median price of a single-family home in the Montreal area is currently $565,550, an 18% increase over the past year. That of an apartment is $402,600. A couple who maxed out their TFSA within a few years would barely manage to pay 20% of a condominium’s down payment, at current prices.

“It was much easier for people my age to buy a first home,” Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland said the day after the federal budget was presented. It’s true. That was all the more true for my parents’ generation. Even if some baby boomers try to convince themselves that today’s young people are child kings who have always cooked everything in their beaks.

By the time I was 25, despite college scholarships, after graduating abroad, I had accumulated $25,000 in student debt. Yet I could aspire to possessions. I don’t know if the young people of my son’s generation will be able to say the same. Over the past 20 years, the median price of a home in Montreal has tripled, while the median income of Montrealers has only increased from $30,400 in 2000 to $38,700 in 2020 (in constant dollars, according to Statistics Canada).

Given the speed of business, Fiston could live in my basement for a long time to come, with his Tanguy furniture. Unless he wins the jackpot. Or that I suddenly feel like moving to Quebec…

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