Not ready to shell out $1.8 million for a duplex in downtown Kitchener? Your money might be better spent on a cliff-top Swedish castle for nearly the same price, according to Canadian TikToker “Millennial Moron.”
The content creator, who declined to disclose his real name, has been gaining traction for his darkly comedic take on Canada’s sky-high housing prices – comparing Canadian real estate listings to private islands and castles for sale abroad.
“The thing I’ve always thought of as the absurdly luxurious type of real estate would be private islands,” Millennial Moron told CTV Kitchener. “And I was curious to see how many rundown Canadian homes you would need to trade to buy a private island, and to my surprise the answer was one.”
The series satirizing the housing market has attracted 70,000 followers in its first month and 1.3 million likes.
His videos include a comparison of a $4.9 million five-bedroom home in Vancouver and a $4.6 million luxury beach house on a private island off the coast of Brazil.
Another contrasts a fixer-upper in Markham listed at $4.9 million with a palatial chateau in France for around the same price.
While the videos might be humorous, they comment on the very serious issues Canadians are facing in trying to buy a home.
“It certainly is something among my generation. I think it’s even worse for the next generation – because with my generation, you would have people who are at least professionals or dual-income households. They can probably afford to get into the housing market – whereas, for gen Z, I think they’re having trouble even seeing a pathway into the market, even for people earning a good income out of university,” said Millennial Moron.
The creator said he hopes the series will get people to rethink how we view the real estate market in Canada.
“I would say as a society, we have this delusion that real estate is the most important thing that you can have, the most valuable thing, and that’s always a great investment no matter what, and I would say a home is not necessarily an investment, you should look at it as a place to live,” he said.
“The fact that we always think it’s this bulletproof investment is leading to a lot of issues in our economy and our society.”
LOCAL REALTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
Waterloo Region realtor Shawn Ramautor sees the humor — and the point — the TikToker is aiming to make.
“I mean we have to take everything into perspective and I think the point he’s trying to make is that real estate for not just the average Canadian, but for even many Canadians, it has become unattainable and out of reach,” said Ramautor.
Ramautor said the barrier to entry for the housing market is increasingly becoming more difficult to climb. Those without a home to sell will find it incredibly difficult to buy as prices outstrip spending power.
“The reality is we are not able to save at the same rate that prices are increasing,” said Ramautor. “It is just becoming too much for the first-time home buyer.”
When it comes to the Kitchener comparison in Millennial Moron’s video, Ramautor said some properties hold values differently and contrasting residential with commercial potential is more like comparing apples and oranges.
“This particular one that he was talking about there, we have to look at the value of the land for redevelopments,” said Ramautor. “Basically tear down and rebuild upwards. That’s basically what the [City of Kitchener] is after — we’ve got a lot of people who are over-housed and a lot of people who are sitting on big lots where they’re not using the space for the highest and best use.”
As for comparing real estate across oceans and continents, supply and demand is a major factor — as well as location.
“It’s not really fair to compare properties in different countries,” said Ramautor. “If we were to compare for a 500 sq. ft. condominium in New York City, in Manhattan, might be five or seven million dollars; what can that five or seven million dollars get you here? You can get an acre of land or two acres and grow on it.”