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Royal LePage Survey: Nearly half of Canadians aged 25 to 35 own their home; one quarter of these homeowners have purchased a property since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

52% say remote work has increased likelihood of moving further from employer 

Highlights:

  • 68% of non-homeowners aged 25 to 35 intend to purchase a home within five years
  • 72% of cohort feels confident in their short-term financial outlook
  • 40% of cohort saw their savings grow since mid-March
  • Royal LePage survey includes national, regional and city-level insights

According to a recent Royal LePage demographic survey[1], nearly half (48%) of Canadians aged 25 to 35 currently own their home, and 25 per cent of these homeowners purchased a property during the pandemic. Among non-homeowners, there is a strong intention to purchase in the future (84%), with 68 per cent planning to make the move in the next five years. Sixteen per cent say they plan to purchase a property within the year, while 14 per cent say they will buy within one to two years, and 39 per cent are looking to purchase in two to five years.


“The pandemic provided an unexpected prize for young Canadians — a path to home ownership,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “Mortgage rates fell to historically low levels and the competition for entry-level housing lessened. Many investors sought to divest of property as traditional renter groups such as foreign students, new immigrants and short-term renters disappeared behind closed borders.”


Soper noted that much higher than typical demand from this cohort, combined with older homeowners who have been generally 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,” continued 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, Canadians aged 25 to 35 have a healthy personal financial outlook. Ninety-two per cent of those 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. Many (40%) have even seen their savings grow since the onset of the pandemic, and 11 per cent saw a significant increase.


“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. Even retail therapy has lost its luster when no one will see those new shoes on the next Zoom call. The silver lining is in soaring savings; unspent money that is finding its way into real estate investments,” said Soper.


Nearly two thirds of Canadians in this age group (63%), who are employed or seeking employment, say the ability to work for an employer that allows the option of remote work is important, a fact that is not surprising given the volume of sales in regions outside of the major urban centres since the onset of the pandemic. Fifty-two per cent said the availability of remote work has increased their likelihood to move further from their current or future place of work. Overall, 39 per cent of this age group 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 of those aged 25 to 35 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 (21%) and access to events, attractions and other entertainment options (21%), followed by diversity of people and cultures (18%), and more employment opportunities (17%). The top reasons for wanting to move to a less dense area are access to more outdoor space (62%) and lower home prices (61%), followed by the affordability of larger properties (51%).


Experts across the country noted young buyers felt comfortable with the safety measures in place around the home buying process during the pandemic.


“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. We expect the pandemic will have permanently accelerated the acceptance among our clients of using many of our emerging home buying and selling technologies.”

Royal LePage 2021 Demographic Survey (full national, regional and city-level results): rlp.ca/table_2021demographicsurvey



British Columbia

In British Columbia, 49 per cent of residents aged 25 to 35 own their home. Of those homeowners, 27 per cent purchased a home since mid-March of last year. Among those who do not currently own a home, 65 per cent say they intend to buy within the next five years.


Strong demand from buyers aged 25 to 35 continues to drive sales in Western Canada. As is the case from coast to coast, many young Canadians in British Columbia (41%) have seen their savings grow since the onset of the pandemic, which has been an important factor in their decision to purchase a home during this time, along with historically low interest rates.


Low interest rates are oxygen for the market. Younger buyers have a positive association with home ownership. They see the value in it and they’ve done the math. Currently, a monthly mortgage payment can equate to little more than renting.”


Ninety-one percent of those surveyed in the province believe that home ownership is a good investment. It been  noted that clients in this age group are thinking more long-term, and low interest rates have made it possible for them to purchase a larger starter home.


Over the last year, we have noticed a shift in priorities where first-time buyers are increasingly valuing size and outdoor space over location.


Seventy-one per cent and 72 per cent of those surveyed in B.C. feel confident in their short-term and long-term personal financial outlook, respectively. They expects activity among this cohort to remain high this spring and throughout the coming year.


Royal LePage 2021 Demographic Survey (full national, regional and city-level results): rlp.ca/table_2021demographicsurvey

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