boomers

Condos low on list for boomers thinking of buying

Monday, July 5, 2021

More Canadian boomers said they would favour a detached home over downsizing to a condominium if they were to purchase a primary residence in the next few years.

A new survey from Royal LePage that was conducted in June found that 35 per cent of this cohort is thinking of buying a home and 45 per cent believe now is a good time to sell.

As of 2020, according to StatsCan, there are 3.2 million boomers born between 1946 and 1965. Royal LePage President and CEO Phil Soper says they have no plans on slowing down. “Fully vaccinated, and turning a cold shoulder to retirement, the typical member of this huge demographic is enjoying an empty nest and believes real estate is a good investment,” he says. “Millions of boomers are expected to wade into the market over the next five years.”

More than half (57 per cent) of respondents said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 19 per cent said they would prefer an apartment/condominium. Fifty-two per cent of boomer homeowners said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, and an additional 24 per cent said they would consider it.

Of the 35 per cent of boomers who say they are considering purchasing a place to live in the next five years, 56 per cent say they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region.

Twenty-eight per cent say they would consider purchasing a larger home than the one they currently reside in, 56 per cent would consider a similarly-sized property, and 63 per cent would consider downsizing. The most popular reason for downsizing is less home maintenance (71 per cent), followed by more retirement money and travel. Nine per cent said they would help their children purchase a home.

“Turning full circle to those carefree, pre-children years, most boomers are looking for a home that requires less maintenance,” says Soper. Paradoxically, they also yearn for country living and don’t want to sacrifice living space. Look for the continued growth of managed communities in exurban and recreational regions.”

Working boomers largely did not consider their region affordable and 42 per cent said they would consider a move to a different city, near or during retirement.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 550,000 Canadian boomers have sold their homes or are in the process of selling, and at least 90 per cent said the global health crisis neither caused their plans of moving to be postponed nor expedited.

‘Bank of mom and dad’

Twenty-five per cent of boomers say they have or would consider gifting or loaning money to a child to help with the purchase of a home as home prices skyrocket across the country. In Vancouver, that figure reaches as high as 34 per cent.

“Affordability is a major issue for young Canadians and with stricter mortgage stress test measures in place, they must clear higher hurdles,” says Soper. “Many are turning to the so-called ‘bank of mom and dad’ to achieve the dream of home ownership. The parental bank appears willing, even if it means delaying retirement.”

A recent Royal LePage and Sagen survey of first-time homebuyers in Canada found that the majority felt anxious about missing out on a property they wanted because of an insufficient down payment. That figure increased to 75 per cent in Toronto and 69 per cent in Vancouver.

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