In Ontario, 44 per cent of residents aged 25 to 35 own their home. Of those homeowners, 26 per cent purchased a home since mid-March of last year. Among those who do not currently own a home, 68 per cent say they intend to buy within the next five years.
Ontarians in this cohort largely believe that home ownership is a good investment (92%), and nearly half of those surveyed (41%) say their savings have increased since last March. Record low mortgage rates and the option to work from virtually anywhere continue to draw young buyers to markets across the province.
In the Greater Toronto Area, 46 per cent of respondents say the pandemic has increased their desire to move to a less densely populated area.
“The pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective, especially for first-time home buyers,” said Tom Storey, real estate agent at Royal LePage Signature Realty in Toronto. “Most of my 25- to 35-year-old clients have fit into one of three distinct buying scenarios over the last year: the softer condo market and low interest rates allowed renters to become owners; move-up buyers who had purchased a condominium a few years ago were able to turn that equity into a down payment on a larger property in the suburbs; or they’ve left the city altogether for a significantly larger space in more affordable places like Hamilton, Guelph, or even cottage country.”
Storey added that this cohort is not expecting to find their dream home straight out the gate. They are interested in taking advantage of some extra savings and low borrowing costs, to invest in a property that has appreciation potential.
While remaining an affordable alternative to Toronto and Vancouver, Ottawa has seen its housing market appreciate over the last few years, due in part to increased demand from both local and out-of-town buyers, many in the age range of 25 to 35.
“Homes near Ottawa’s downtown have now become unattainable for some in this age group and many buyers look in the various suburbs outside the city centre, which are only a short drive away,” said Justin Millette, sales representative at Royal LePage Team Realty. “Since the start of the pandemic, my clients’ priorities have shifted from location to space and affordability, and the lack of inventory is piling on added pressure to try and get into the market as soon as possible. There is a sense they may be priced out of certain areas if they don’t act quickly.”
Millette added that since last March, he’s seen an increase in younger buyers seeking larger properties, as well as current homeowners looking to upsize. Millette expects to see a shift back to the city once the pandemic is over, especially among this group.
Seventy-one per cent and 75 per cent of those surveyed in Ontario feel confident in their short-term and long-term personal financial outlook, respectively. Forty-three per cent say their desire to move to a less dense area has increased since the onset of the pandemic, and 56 per cent say the option of remote work has increased their likelihood of moving further away from their employer.
Royal LePage 2021 Demographic Survey (full national, regional and city-level results): rlp.ca/table_2021demographicsurvey