Expensive rents in Vancouver mean more students live with mom and dad

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Steven Ansley with his mother, Gayle Ansley. Steven and his brother Stuart still live at home, but make sure to pitch in with the chores, such as walking the family dog. Photo: Jeremy Sally.

“Do I stay at Hotel Mom & Dad? Or do I face a high rent and cost of living?”

Langara graduate Stuart Ansley asks himself this question often as he continues living with his parents.

“There’s the grocery fairy, the laundry fairy and the dog walking fairy,” laughs Stuart. “All these things magically get done. The fridge is always full too.”

The 21-year-old and his brother Steven, 23, both live in the Kerrisdale house they’ve called home since elementary school. The quiet, shaded neighbourhood has become financially out of reach for many young adults.

Stuart and Steven aren’t alone. Statistics Canada reports that 51 per cent of today’s 20-somethings live with their parents. By comparison, 31 per cent of Generation X lived at home when they were in their 20s.

Staying at home takes financial pressure off students

Steven said that staying at home helped him earn a literature and humanities degree at SFU. “You don’t have to try and hold down a job while writing term papers.”

“Privacy can be an issue,” said Steven. “It’s gone from two adults and two kids, to four adults – each with their own lives and activities. It can wear on you.”

“It’s give or take,” says Stuart, his brother nodding in agreement. “If there is something that needs to be done, like a chore, just do it. That’s how everybody stays sane.”

Steven doesn’t agree that living at home postpones adulthood. “It’s economic, more than laziness.”

Living with parents a growing trend for cash-strapped young people

Langara students said the expense of living in Vancouver was the main reason for staying at home. The city has the highest average rent out of all Canadian cities. A recent Economist report found that Vancouver’s cost of living is the highest of all North American cities. The annual survey includes housing prices as well as the cost of food, products, and services.

“In my culture, which is Asian, the parents encourage the children to stay home,” said business student Gerald Cruz. “Why leave when you can stay until you get that better job, when you know you’re actually ready?”

Adulthood delayed

On campus, some students were less positive about their lives at home.

“The only reason I haven’t moved out is because I’m broke,” said arts and sciences student Nathan Solar.

“My dad’s a bit lazy so there’s never food in the fridge,” he laughs. “I also barely get to play Xbox because he’s using Netflix.”

“It’s freedom. It means you can make your own decisions as an adult,” says Lucas Vicic, also an arts and science student. “I mean, you can’t walk around naked if you live with your parents.”

Reported by Jeremy Sally

In this podcast, Langara Voice reporter, Jen St. Denis, speaks with Gayle Aynsley about some of the perks of having her two grown-up sons still living at home:

More millennials staying at home with mom and dad

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