Newcomers to boost demand for residential units

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Newcomers to Canada are expected to buy 680,000 homes over the next five years if current international migration levels keep up, according to a Royal LePage survey released today.

This group that includes immigrants, students, refugees and those coming to work, currently represents one in every five home buyers. On average, they make their first purchase three years after arriving, with the majority using savings they acquired in their former country or countries of residence. When buying a home, 51 per cent purchase a detached home, 18 per cent buy a condominium, 15 per cent buy a townhouse and 13 per cent buy a semi-detached house.

The survey, conducted online through market research and analytics company Ledger, observed data from 1,500 respondents who arrived to Canada within the past ten years. They are mostly families with children, students or single applicants.

International migration accounted for 80.5 per cent of the country’s population growth in 2018, according to Statistics Canada. Only 32 per cent of newcomers own homes compared to the national ownership rate of 68 per cent; however, most desire to own homes and see real estate as a good investment. Respondents said they would rather live in Canada than the United States because they feel safer and more welcomed as an immigrant.

“The combined demand for affordable housing among younger Canadians and new Canadians can be met through housing policies that encourage smart and sustainable development, with a focus on protecting and developing green spaces in our urban centres,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “Canada’s economy and labour markets are expanding and it is crucial that housing supply keeps pace,”

In Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa are seeing the highest levels of home ownership among newcomers in the province at 32 per cent, while areas of Quebec, particularly Montreal, are also experiencing demand.

“The Greater Toronto Area population is growing as both newcomers and Canadians from outside of the region move to the city to live and work,” said Chris Slightham, president, Royal LePage Signature Realty. “This demand is creating upward pressure on our real estate market. We expect this momentum to continue as the GTA remains a desired world class destination.”

In the Greater Vancouver Area, the ownership rate is 32 per cent, the same as both the provincial and national average.

“Newcomers are contributing to demand across housing types,” said Randy Ryalls, general manager, Royal LePage Sterling Realty, B.C.. Families are searching for houses in family-friendly communities while those coming as individuals are drawn to condos which provide a lower maintenance lifestyle in convenient locations at a more affordable price point.”

Regions such as Alberta, Atlantic Canada and the Prairies welcome a lower influx of immigrants, but the rate of ownership is high due to the affordability factor.

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