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A definitive sign of housing unaffordability is the trend of young adults teaming up with friends and family to buy houses.

Picking a house, decorating it and running it on a day-to-day basis are highly personal matters that can spark disagreements even among loving spouses. Add other people into the mix and you have the potential for a very complicated ownership experience.

And yet, people in the real estate industry say co-ownership of homes is definitely a thing. In an upcoming episode of our Stress Test personal finance podcast, we’ll speak to a mortgage broker who has worked with at least four sets of siblings buying homes together this year.

We’d also like to hear directly from people who have either bought a home with friends or family, or are planning to do so. If you’re willing to share your story, please contact Stress Test producer Emily Jackson at emilyjackson24@gmail.com.

Here are some of the things I want to know about co-buying:

  • How do you make decisions about what maintenance and improvement expenses to take on?
  • How are mortgage decisions made, ie variable versus fixed rate?
  • What if buying partners have differing down payments to contribute?
  • How are disagreements about noise, cleaning and other chores handled?
  • How would it work if someone wants out of the shared ownership experience?
  • How do you move up to a bigger home if your equity is based on half-ownership of a home?

In Season Two of Stress Test, we covered the trend of young adults moving out of expensive urban centres to small cities and towns. Since then, prices in many of these once-affordable communities have soared. Without a decline in house prices, co-ownership of a home may be the only alternative to renting in some cases.


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Housing bubbles and troubles

A wide-ranging article on what’s happening in the housing market right now, including a discussion of the potential for a crash and what both owners and prospective buyers should do going forward.

Solving life’s money dilemmas

A long-time U.S. financial blogger has written a book that adds a new dimension to personal finance advice with answers to practical questions like whether to job hop or be a loyal soldier, whether to invest on stocks or real estate and whether to buy a fixer-upper house or something remodelled. Here’s the author, Sam Dogen, on how he approached the book.

The other side of bitcoin

Bitcoin has not avoided the upheaval affecting assets like stocks and bonds recently. CNBC reported earlier this week that bitcoin was off 55 per cent from its November peak, and that 40 per cent of bitcoin investors have lost money on paper. To me, the more interesting point raised here is that bitcoin prices have closed tracked the Nasdaq index, which raises questions about bitcoin as an inflation hedge and portfolio diversifier.

Tips for buying a family car

The average price of a new vehicle in Canada is about $44,000, which is a lot. Thoughts here on how to focus your vehicle search to get the best value. Interested in going electric? Here’s a helpful primer.


Q&A

Q: I’ve recently noticed a few friends sharing on social media about personal finance apps they are using for household budgets. Seems like it might be a useful tool and easier to navigate than spreadsheets. I’m wondering if it is worth paying an annual fee for an app, and are there some that are better than the rest?

A: Here’s a look at the best financial apps for Canadians, including a discussion of security.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.


Today’s financial tool

A question posted on Reddit about where to find the best travel deals generated a lot of helpful responses.


The Money-Free Zone

I enjoyed this critical take by Globe arts reporter Brad Wheeler on the 1971 song American Pie by Don McLean, who did a concert in Toronto earlier this month. Now, for the song itself. C’mon, you know you want to hear it one more time.


Watch this

A portfolio manager explains why investing in ETFs covering popular investing themes are “like lighting your money on fire.”


In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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