Tighter mortgage lending rules, in conjunction with the fallout of the US housing meltdown and the European
debt crisis, have triggered a shift in the Canadian homebuyer mix and mindset. The new Canadian real estate
consumer is experienced, fiscally-responsible, and ready to move forward over the next 24 months.
That’s the takeaway from the RE/MAX Canadian Homebuying Trends Survey conducted among more than
1,100 prospective purchasers late last year.
National findings include:
• Almost one in five purchasers is single
• More than two-thirds are second or multi-time purchasers
• Four out of 10 purchasers between the ages of 18-34 have a downpayment of 20 per cent or more
• Just over 80 per cent of buyers believe housing values in their area will rise or remain the same
Changing market conditions have clearly prompted the shift in the homebuying activity from coast to coast.
Once dominated by first-time buyers, the survey found that second and multi-time buyers will lead the charge
for housing over the next two years. Experienced purchasers now represent 70 per cent of homebuyers, while
first-time buyers are sitting at 30 per cent.
Spending will be reined in—with 38 per cent of purchasers indicating they’ll spend under $250,000 and 42 per
cent indicating they will spend between $250,000 and $500,000. In Ontario, fewer buyers will fall under the
$250,000 price point—at 31 per cent—and more buyers will be active between $250,000 and $500,000—45
Greater fiscal responsibility is evident across the board. In fact, 40 per cent of younger purchasers, aged 18 to
34, are expected to put down 20 per cent or more. Serious equity gains have been a contributing factor.
Consumer demographics continue to evolve, shaped by new realities. Single buyers have emerged as a force in
the market, representing almost one in five purchasers. Forty-Five per cent are female—a stat that truly
demonstrates how far we’ve come, as the number of successful, young female professionals entering Canadian
housing markets climbs.
Confidence underpins the Canadian housing market, with 83 per cent of purchasers believing that housing
values in their area will rise or stay the same over the next 12 months. Homebuyers were most bullish in
Ontario, where that figure rose to 85 per cent. Optimism in the province continues to be propped up by sound
real estate market fundamentals and an improving economic outlook.
While the homebuying mix may be different, the mantra is the same. Homeownership remains a key
component of the Canadian Dream. It’s a common thread among all Canadians—a goal to which we aspire—
and that’s not likely to go away anytime soon.