The majority of millennials who took part in a recent national survey by Royal LePage say remote work has made it more likely they will move further from employers. Among this cohort, 68 per cent intend to purchase within five years and 40 per cent have already racked up savings since the pandemic began.
Nearly half of millennials already own a home, one quarter sealed the deal during the COVID-19 crisis, and about 16 per cent wish to become homeowners in a year’s time. The survey looked at 2,000 Canadians aged 25 to 35 and was recorded online between December 29, 2020 and January 8, 2021.
Lower mortgage rates and investors divesting from renter-fueled properties are known factors clearing the path to ownership. Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage, noted that higher than typical demand from millennials, combined with older homeowners who have been more reluctant to put their property on the market during the pandemic, has contributed to a near-crisis shortage of listings in parts of the country.
“Measures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have motivated many of our younger Canadians to buy, while the health crisis dissuaded many of our older homeowners from selling,” said Soper. “Some young people living with parents or roommates found their work-from-home environment uncomfortably crowded. Others saw a once-in-a-decade affordability window open on their dream of home ownership. On the other hand, many older homeowners whose homes are adequate for changed employment circumstances have delayed their desire for a housing upgrade until the medical crisis is under control.”
Confidence in Canadian real estate is strong and despite economic challenges related to the pandemic,
These Canadians have a healthy personal financial outlook. Ninety-two per cent surveyed agree that owning a home is a good financial investment. Seventy-two per cent are confident in their short-term financial outlook and 78 per cent are confident in their long-term financial future.
“In many ways, the pandemic has sucked the joy out of our normally kinetic young adults’ lives. No dining out, no concerts with friends or winter escapes to the sunny south,” observed Soper. “The silver lining is in soaring savings; unspent money that is finding its way into real estate investments.”
Nearly two thirds of Canadians in this age group say the ability to work for an employer that allows the option of remote work is important. Overall, 39 per cent are considering a move from their current home to a less dense area as a result of the pandemic, while 46 per cent said the pandemic had no impact on their desire to move to a less dense area.
When given the choice, 45 per cent said they’d prefer to live in a city. Similarly, 47 per cent said they would choose small town or country living. The top responses for the most attractive feature of living in a city are walkability, and access to events, attractions and other entertainment options, diversity of people and cultures, and more employment opportunities. The top reasons for wanting to move to a less dense area are access to more outdoor space, lower home prices and more affordable larger homes.
Experts across the country noted young buyers felt comfortable with the safety measures in place around the home buying process during the pandemic, states Royal LePage.
“Younger buyers are exceedingly comfortable with online research, be it for the latest personal tech, a pair of running shoes, or a home,” said Soper. “This group has had no problem adapting to our enhanced use of virtual tours and electronic contracts.”