Moving boxes in new house. Real estate concept.
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Canadians grappling with unaffordable housing are dealing with it in various ways, including sharing the purchase of a home with a family member or resigning themselves to being “house poor,” according to an annual homeownership poll by Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada.

Almost as many prospective home buyers are purchasing (or planning to purchase) a home with family members (28%) as alone (32%), the poll found. Combined, these nontraditional arrangements have eclipsed the traditional arrangement of purchasing a home with a partner or spouse (42%).

“We’re seeing a fundamental contrast in who’s at the buying table,” Nicole Wells, vice president, home equity financing, RBC, said in a statement. “There is a surge in confident, in-control solo home buyers and, on the polar opposite end, those who are saying they can’t do it alone and need the assistance of family.”

Amid this shift and prevailing stress test guidelines, down payments are trending upward: nearly half of homebuyers (47%) plan to put down 15% or more, the poll found.

The issue of being “house poor,” or stretching one’s budget to make homeownership work (usually by spending upwards of 30-40% of household income or more), has also affected about four in 10 Canadians, either now or at some point in the past. And although 92% say that “mental stress” is a potential result of being house poor, the poll found that 47% say it’s worth the sacrifice. The other half of respondents, on the other hand, said they wouldn’t put themselves in that position.

“While many Canadians tell us that house poor may be a reality, it doesn’t have to be. It may require more effort or time upfront, but being more prepared in the home-buying journey can help bring it all together,” Wells said.

Many Canadians are delaying the purchase of a home because they’re uncertain about the country’s economy, and many survey respondents living in hot housing markets expect home prices to come down (68% of B.C. respondents and 58% of Ontario respondents).