Assuming that Toronto has a housing bubble, and that it will not burst (or if it does, it won’t be soon enough), how are average people supposed to enter the market? I agree that consumers should not buy above their means, but what if that results in being priced out of everywhere you want to live?
I came across a very interesting New York Times article recently that (although cheekily mocked for its navel-gazing in a satirical blog) does raise a very interesting point. The article, peppered with Richard Florida references, highlights Brooklyn and the San Francisco Bay area where people, priced out of the market, join together to purchase property that they could not otherwise afford.
In a previous post, I described Tenancy in Common, a method of owning property with others. In the face of gentrification and rising markets in general, this could provide those people who were going to share a rental space the opportunity to share an owned space. Obviously, this type of ownership is not for everyone, and it is not a new concept - but obviously more relevant as we face increased housing costs and fewer options.
I believe that this kind of ownership is certainly a sensible way to start. Having said that, make sure you go in to the transaction with your expectations known, and even if you decide to buy property with your brother, make sure that you have documented the agreement between you in detail. Nothing drives people apart like disputes over money so to protect the relationship, make sure you have clear expectations from the outset.