News: Vancouver Real Estate Market

BOOMER TREND SURVEY UNVEILS REAL ESTATE INTENTIONS OF POWERFUL DEMOGRAPHIC


Survey Highlights:

  • 40% of boomer homeowners have at least half of their net wealth in real estate
  • 52% of boomer homeowners would prefer to renovate their current property over moving
  • 17% of boomer homeowners currently own more than one property
  • 64% of boomer homeowners are mortgage-free
  • 25% of boomers say they have or would assist a child financially to buy a home

TORONTO, June 30, 2021 – According to a recent Royal LePage survey of boomers in Canada, defined by StatsCan as having been born between 1946 and 1965, 35% of the cohort – or approximately 3.2 million boomers – said they are considering a home purchase within the next five years. Nationally, 45% of respondents believe now is a good time to sell their home.

"The boomer generation appears to have no intention of slowing down," said Phil Soper, President and CEO, Royal LePage. "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. Millions of boomers are expected to wade into the market over the next five years."


Boomer Housing Demand

There is no one-size-fits-all outcome as Canadian boomers age into retirement, especially when it comes to their decision about where to live. More than half (57%) of respondents said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 19% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium. 52% of boomer homeowners said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, and an additional 24% said they would consider it.

Of the 35% of boomers who say they are considering purchasing a primary residence in the next five years, 56% say they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region. 28% say they would consider purchasing a larger home than the one they currently reside in, 56% would consider a similarly-sized property, and 63% would consider downsizing. Respondents were able to choose more than one option. The most popular reason for downsizing is less home maintenance (71%). Other popular choices include the ability to free up money for things like retirement (39%), travel (29%), and to help their children purchase a home (9%).

"Turning full circle to those carefree, pre-children years, most boomers are looking for a home that requires less maintenance," Soper continued. "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 (65%) and 42% 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 (6%) have sold their homes or are in the process of selling, and at least 90% said the global health crisis neither caused their plans of moving to be postponed nor expedited.

Homeownership and Personal Wealth

75% of boomers own their own home, the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (64%). 17% of boomer homeowners own more than one property, and 40% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate.

"The boomer generation strongly values home ownership, for good reason. Real estate has been very, very good to them," said Soper. "Most are still working and their home equity has become the bedrock of retirement security. Financially confident, their next move is a matter of lifestyle choice."

78% of Canadian boomers believe that home ownership is a good investment.

Boomers keep 'bank of mom and dad' open

As home prices continue to grow across the country, many young adults are turning to their boomer parents for help with a down payment on a property. 25% of boomers say they have or would consider gifting or loaning money to a child to help with the purchase of a home. In Vancouver, that figure reaches as high as 34%.

"Over the past year, home values have appreciated sharply in virtually every market from coast to coast. Affordability is a major issue for young Canadians and with stricter mortgage stress test measures in place, they must clear higher hurdles," Soper said. "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 62% of respondents nationwide felt anxious about missing out on a property they wanted because of an insufficient down payment, before buying their first home. That figure increased to 75% in Toronto and 69% in Vancouver.

79% of Canadian boomers do not have children living in their home. This includes boomers who are not parents. 17% of them have adult children living at home. 7% of those surveyed said they have children aged 18 to 24, and 12% said they have children 25 years of age or older living at home.

Of those who have children living at home, 43% plan to stay in their current property once their kids have moved out. Meanwhile, 21% said they do not foresee their children leaving.

By the end of this decade, all boomers will be 65 or older, which typically coincides with retirement in Canada. 27% of boomers who are currently working said they would consider delaying retirement to help their children with a down payment on a home.


Regional Summaries

Atlantic Canada

29% of boomers in Atlantic Canada are considering purchasing a home within the next five years. 78% of boomers in the Maritimes own their own home, the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (72%), which is among the highest rates in Canada.

"The affordability of real estate in Atlantic Canada allows homeowners to pay off their loans quicker and enter retirement mortgage-free," said Glenn Larkin, sales representative, Royal LePage Vision Realty, in St. John's, Newfoundland.

16% of boomer homeowners in the region own more than one property, and 21% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate. More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 11% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium.

"Although home prices are more affordable in the Maritimes, some first-time buyers are finding current market conditions challenging, as prices have appreciated at record rates, partially driven by a surge of out-of-province buyers over the last year," continued Larkin. "Many parents with the ability to do so, are helping their children with a down payment. Often they are using some of the profit from the sale of their own family home."

19% of respondents in Atlantic Canada are likely to assist, or have assisted, a child financially with the purchase of a home, the lowest rate of all surveyed regions in the country.

49% of boomer homeowners in Atlantic Canada said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, and an additional 26% said they would consider it.


Quebec

29% of boomers in Quebec are considering purchasing a home within the next five years, which is among the lowest rates in Canada. At 62%, Montreal has the lowest rate of home ownership among boomers. That figure rises to 67% in the province, the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (57%). 16% of boomer homeowners in Quebec own more than one property, and 34% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate.

More than half (53%) of respondents in Quebec said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 20% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium.

Of the 29% of boomers in Quebec who are considering purchasing a primary residence in the next five years, 62% say they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region. 32% say they would consider purchasing a larger home than the one they currently reside in, 53% would consider a similarly-sized property, and 59% would consider downsizing (55% in Montreal). Respondents were able to choose more than one answer. The most popular reason among Quebec boomers for downsizing is less home maintenance (72%). Other popular choices include the ability to free up money for things like retirement (36%), travel (21%), and to help their children purchase a home (13%). Montreal respondents who are considering to downsize also value the ability to free up money for retirement (41%), travel (21%), and to help their children purchase a home (15%).

"While the expectation may have been that boomers would downsize into condominiums en masse, the proportion of Quebec boomers looking to move into a larger property is among the highest in Canada," said Georges Gaucher, broker and owner, Royal LePage Village. "Although prices continue to rise in the Belle Province, it remains one of the most affordable markets in the country."

24% of respondents in Quebec are likely to assist a child financially with the purchase of a home.

62% of boomer homeowners in Quebec said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, among the highest rates of all the regions surveyed. An additional 21% said they would consider it.

"We expect that as COVID-19 safety restrictions continue to be lifted and as the vaccination campaign progresses, some Quebec boomers will put their homes on the market, which will improve inventory selection for potential buyers," added Gaucher. "However, while the variety of listings will improve, boomers who are selling are also expected to purchase. This will add more competition to the market."


Ontario

Slightly higher than the national average, 37% of boomers in Ontario are considering purchasing a home within the next five years (41% in Toronto). 76% of boomers in the province own their own home, the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (64% and 60% in Toronto). 16% of boomer homeowners in the province own more than one property, and 46% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate. In Toronto that number reaches 54%, the highest of all census metropolitan areas surveyed.

"The pandemic has left a lasting impact on many younger boomers who are trying to get more from their home after a year of COVID-19 related health restrictions. Many are looking for more space to entertain, help out with the grandkids or continue to work remotely. Not all boomers have the luxury to upgrade to a larger space, but the desire is there," said Cailey Heaps, who leads the Heaps Estrin Team, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, in Toronto.

More than half (59%) of Ontario boomers said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 19% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium.

Of the 37% of boomers in Ontario who say they are considering purchasing a primary residence in the next five years, 56% say they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region. 25% say they would consider purchasing a larger home than the one they currently reside in (26% in Toronto), 54% would consider a similarly-sized property (57% in Toronto), and 66% would consider downsizing (59% in Toronto). Respondents were able to choose more than one option. The most popular reason for downsizing is less home maintenance (73%). Other popular choices include the ability to free up money for things like retirement (38%), travel (35%), and to help their children purchase a home (11%). Toronto boomers who are considering to downsize also value the ability to free up money for retirement (49%), travel (42%), and to help their children purchase a home (16%).

24% of respondents in Ontario are likely to assist a child financially with the purchase of a home (29% in Toronto).

"Boomers who own property in Ontario have seen their equity grow while making memories in their family home. They want the same experience for their children and feel a sense of urgency, as prices are becoming more out of reach, to help get them on the property ladder," said Heaps. "While competition is high across the province, Toronto remains a particularly difficult market to get into because of the higher price point. For some younger buyers, help from parents will determine whether they can purchase at all."

52% of boomer homeowners in Ontario said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, and an additional 23% said they would consider it.


Prairies (Saskatchewan and Manitoba)

32% of boomers in the Prairies are considering purchasing a home within the next five years. Home ownership among boomers is higher than the national average with 78% of Prairie boomers owning their own home, the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (66%). 21% of boomer homeowners in the region own more than one property, and 35% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate.

"I've seen many cases where boomers have moved to their secondary properties on the lake in retirement, but they don't always sell their primary residences," said Norm Fisher, broker and owner, Royal LePage Vidorra, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. "Home prices are more affordable in Saskatchewan, so established homeowners can afford to keep both."

More than half (57%) of respondents in the Prairies said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 26% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium.

"Most boomers are not eager to move into a significantly smaller space, but they do want a home that requires less maintenance, and won't be a burden on their family or friends if they choose to spend several months away in the winter," said Chris Pennycook, sales representative, Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

24% of boomers in the Prairies are likely to assist their children financially with the purchase of a home.

"I've been in real estate for 35 years. Young people getting financial help to buy their first home is not a new trend, but I can't remember a time when parents, and in some cases grandparents, have helped this much," added Pennycook.

41% of boomer homeowners in the Prairies said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another. An additional 31% said they would consider it.


Alberta

41% of boomers in Alberta are considering purchasing a home within the next five years. At 84%, Alberta has one of the highest rates of home ownership among boomers, the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (67%). 36% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate. 24% of boomer homeowners in the province own more than one property.

"Owning a second property is common in Alberta as either a recreational property or as an investment. Real estate is highly affordable and has great value. You can buy a condo in Edmonton's city centre as a student rental for less than $130,000," said Tom Shearer, broker and owner, Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate, in Edmonton.

More than half (58%) of respondents in Alberta said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 13% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium.

"Boomers in Calgary typically belong to one of two schools of thought: those who want to age in place if they can, and those who want to downsize into a bungalow or villa-style community," said Corinne Lyall, broker and owner, Royal LePage Benchmark, in Calgary. "Downsizing does not necessarily mean moving into a condo. The preference for most is to have a smaller house with less maintenance."

Of the 41% of boomers in Alberta who say they are considering purchasing a primary residence in the next five years, 55% say they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region. 17% say they would consider purchasing a larger home than the one they currently reside in, 58% would consider a similarly-sized property, and 66% would consider downsizing. Respondents were able to choose more than one option. The most popular reason for downsizing is less home maintenance (70%). Other popular choices include the ability to free up money for things like retirement (36%), travel (28%), and to help their children purchase a home (6%).

29% of respondents in Alberta are likely to assist a child financially with the purchase of a home.

"Many boomers have built up significant wealth in real estate. It is common to see parents give financial gifts to adult children to help them own their own home nearby. This allows them to support each other, as often we see grandparents helping out with their grandkids," added Shearer.

Nearly half (49%) of boomer homeowners in Alberta said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, and an additional 24% said they would consider it.


British Columbia

39% of boomers in British Columbia are considering purchasing a home within the next five years.

"Boomers are the most affluent generation in Canadian history and appreciate the equity they have built up in their homes," said Caroline Baile, associate broker, Royal LePage Sussex, in North Vancouver. "While many did not have an immediate need to move due to additional space requirements, as safety restrictions are lifted and the vaccine roll-out is in full gear, many boomers will again think about their next move."

79% of boomers in the province own their own home (73% in Vancouver), the majority of whom do not currently have a mortgage (66% and 64% in Vancouver). In B.C., 18% of boomer homeowners currently own more than one property, and 48% have at least 50% of their net wealth in real estate, one of the highest rates of all regions surveyed in Canada.

More than half (54%) of respondents in B.C. said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy, while 19% said they would prefer an apartment/condominium.

"The trend we're noticing among this group is rightsizing, rather than downsizing. They may choose a slightly smaller home, but they still want some outdoor space and room to entertain," continued Baile. "Townhomes are very popular today among younger boomers, who aren't quite ready for a condo but enjoy the freedom of a property with lower maintenance."

Of the 39% of boomers in B.C. who say they are considering purchasing a primary residence in the next five years, half say they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region. 36% say they would consider purchasing a larger home than the one they currently reside in, 64% would consider a similarly-sized property, and 59% would consider downsizing. Respondents were able to choose more than one option. The most popular reason for downsizing is less home maintenance (55%). Other popular choices include the ability to free up money for things like retirement (45%), travel (30%), and to help their children purchase a home (9%).

31% of respondents in B.C. are likely to assist a child financially with the purchase of a home. That number jumps to 34% in Vancouver.

45% of boomer homeowners in B.C. said they would prefer to renovate their existing home rather than purchase another, and an additional 27% said they would consider it.

For all regional and national responses, including Vancouver, click here

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