Despite a new home (likely) being the biggest purchase they'll make in their lifetime, many young Ontarians aren't afraid to close the deal virtually.

In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Nanos for Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), some 48% of Ontarians between the ages of 18-34 said they'd be open or 'somewhat open' to signing on the dotted line for a home they've only seen over the internet.

RELATED: In-Person Home Tours in Toronto Up 95% in May Compared to April

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the generation that has grown up using Amazon as its own personal delivery service is more at ease getting a feel for things via a computer screen than a generation that can remember life before the internet. Still, there's no doubt COVID-19 has likely helped to play a role in expediting the level of comfort homebuyers have in viewing from a digital distance. To further illustrate the point, when age is not accounted for, the overall result of Ontario homebuyers' openness to a virtual purchase is actually net negative.

Buying a home virtually OREA

The survey is intended to create a benchmark among Ontarians 'active' in the real estate market. According to the methodology, "active Ontarians are defined as those who are actively looking to buy a home, who have bought or sold a home in the past two years, who plan to buy or sell a home in the next two years or who would have bought or sold in the past two years if not for COVID-19."

Other key findings from the survey include the majority of active Ontarians believing that buying a home today is still a very good (19%) or good (37%) investment, despite any market turbulence and economic uncertainties COVID-19 has brought with it.

That said, approximately 1 in 4 potential buyers have changed what they're looking for in a home, with a new preference centred on property with more space/amenities (28%) and more outdoor space (25%).

Based on the findings, OREA President Sean Morrison took the opportunity to suggest, “This new data underscores the important role real estate can play in Ontario’s economic recovery as we move towards a post-COVID-19 world.”

This sentiment is echoed in a recent 20-step plan submitted to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee that was put together by the Canadian and Ontario Home Builders’ Associations (CHBA and OHBA) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and argues that residential and commercial building and development industry is “well-positioned” to help kick-start the Canadian economy in the post-COVID era.

As quickly as just one month after the pandemic forced the provincial government to declare a state of emergency, several Canadian real estate portals were reporting increases of between 200-500% in requests for virtual home tours.

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