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Houses are seen in a suburb located north of Toronto in Vaughan, Canada, in this June 29, 2015, file photo.MARK BLINCH/Reuters

By Rob Carrick

Housing prices in some cities have risen way above incomes for years, and the result is a market that is increasingly unaffordable for first-time buyers. The housing-industrial complex — banks, realtors and such — must be getting nervous about this. In the past few days, I've seen a number of media releases trying to pump up the market for millennial home buying.

Here's RE/MAX with a survey claiming that almost 80 per cent of millennials agree owning a home is attainable. And here's Royal Bank of Canada with survey results showing a marked increase in the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who are considering the purchase of a house in the next two years — a jump from 34 per cent in 2015 to 43 per cent this year. Our own finding is that home ownership is the number one financial concern of young adults today, just ahead of retirement.

In this recent column, I looked at one millennial couple that can afford to buy a house. Now for the young adults who want to buy, but can't really afford it. Here are four thoughts to cool their house lust.

1.) Your house will not be an investment: There's simply not that much more room for houses to rise in price before they become unaffordable enough to curb demand. Expect long-term price appreciation in line with the inflation rate

2.) Forget about your restaurant and bar lifestyle: The cost of owning can soak up a lot of the cash you used to socialize with friends.

3.) Forget about travel: Unless a long weekend at your in-laws' cottage counts.

4.) Your parents have no idea: They're pushing you to buy because they made out like bandits in housing. But there's virtually no chance of a similar financial windfall for you.

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Rob's top web links
Are you getting your fair share of tax deductions?
> Here's a full list in infographic form of tax credits and deductions available to Canadians.

Tax tips for snowbirds
> How to stay out of trouble with the IRS and the CRA.

Just how safe are syndicated mortgages?
> Investors are being told to expect yields of 8 per cent on these packaged mortgage investments, but there are risks.

The Visa vs. MasterCard foreign exchange fee smackdown
> A look at the exchange rates these two credit card giants apply when you buy stuff outside Canada. Worth keeping in mind when choosing the right credit card for your needs.

Co-signing a loan is such a bad idea
> When you co-sign, the borrower controls your credit history. Check out this story to see the risks.

Thanks, TD, but I'll count those coins myself
> Toronto-Dominion Bank's U.S. operation has a program called Penny Arcade that is aimed at getting kids to bring in their pennies to be counted by a machine. An investigation found some of the machines were short-changing customers and now the coin counters have been pulled.

Today's featured investment tool
I've noticed an upswing lately in the interest people are showing toward responsible investing – putting your money into companies in progressive sectors like sustainable power or firms with best-in-sector records on factors like treatment of employees and the environment. Here's a new website called Ethiquette that is designed to educate investors on RI and help them find appropriate investments.

Ask Rob
The question: "I am looking for an avenue to invest purely in the top five Canadian banks. I would like to put about $25,000.00 in each bank."

My reply: Take a look at an exchange-traded fund, the BMO S&P/TSX Equal Weight Banks Index ETF (ZEB). It holds the Big Six banks in equal proportion and can be purchased like a stock through any brokerage firm, full-service or discount.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.

Featured Video
Stock markets correct from time to time – what about housing prices?

Gen Y Personal Finance
Our new Gen Y Money page is aimed at 20- and 30-somethings with questions about money.

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