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Boomers Showing No Signs of Giving Up Their (Vice-Like) Grip on the Real Estate Market

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Across Canada, 3.2 million boomers — AKA, those born between 1946 and 1965 — are considering purchasing a home within the next five years.

This is according to a recent country-wide survey of the cohort by Royal LePage.

The total who report that they’re considering buying make up 35% of the generation in Canada, while 45% say they believe now is a good time to sell their home.

“The boomer generation appears to have no intention of slowing down,” said Royal LePage President and CEO, Phil Soper. “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.”

READ: Bancroft, Ontario Named the Best Place to Buy Real Estate in Canada

Where home-type preferences for boomers are concerned, Royal Lepage reports “there is no one-size-fits-all.” While 57% of respondents said, if they were to buy, they would purchase a detached house, 19% said they would opt for an apartment or condo instead.

Of the aforementioned 35% who said they’re considering purchasing in the next half-decade, 56% would reportedly consider moving to a “rural or recreational region.” The majority (65%) of working boomers did not consider their current region affordable, and 42% said they would consider moving away from their city near or during retirement. 

Perhaps predictably, 63% said they would consider downsizing their space, while 56% would opt for a similarly-sized property, and just 28% would consider purchasing a larger home.

In a section of the survey where respondents could select more than one option, the most popular reason for downsizing — coming in at 71% — was less home maintenance. (Respect.)

“Turning full circle to those carefree, pre-children years, most boomers are looking for a home that requires less maintenance,” Soper said. “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.”

Following the explanation of lesser maintenance, reasons for downsizing included: Freeing up money to save (39%), travel (29%), and helping their children purchase a home (9%).

In alignment with the latter of those, of homeowners surveyed by Manulife just last month, one-third (33%) admit that they needed — and received — help from their parents to purchase their home. This includes nearly half of Generation Z (47%) and Millennial homeowners (46%).

According to Royal LePage’s survey, 25% of boomers say they have — or would consider — either gifting or loaning money to a child to aid them through a property purchase, and the same percentage would consider delaying retirement to help their children with a down payment.

In Ontario, the rate of boomers who are considering purchasing a home in the next five years is higher than the national average, landing at 37%. Across the province, 76% of boomers own their own home (surpassing the same measure in BC by 3%), while 64% don’t currently have a mortgage. Another 16% own more than one property.

Of those who said they’d considering buying, 56% said they would consider moving to a rural or recreational region, mirroring the national rate.

Perhaps they’ll find something that suits them in Bancroft, giving city-loving millennials a fighting chance.

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