Ontario boomer buyers looking for property in rural, small town areas

ONTARIO – Ontario’s millennial and first-time home buyers are largely looking for detached and semi-detached primary homes – and not condos, according to new research conducted by Ipsos for the Ontario Real Estate Association’s  (OREO) first annual Buyers and Sellers Research Report.

Among the 19 per cent of all Ontarians looking to buy a home within the next year, the vast majority (84 per cent) are looking for detached, semi-detached or town homes. This is particularly true with millennials (83 per cent) and first-time home buyers (83 per cent). In fact, 51 per cent of first-time buyers say they are looking for a detached home, while 22 per cent say they are looking for a townhouse.  

The online survey of Ontario residents aged 18+ was conducted between Jan. 27 and Feb. 6 through the Ipsos I-Say panel. Opinions were gathered from 1,420 Ontario residents. The total number of participants was weighted according to Statistics Canada census data by gender, age and region to reflect the actual distribution of Ontarians. The polling is considered accurate to within +/- 3.3 per cent for buyers and +/- 3.5 per cent for sellers, 19 times out of 20.

“We know that in Ontario, there is simply not enough supply to meet demand, which often leads to multiple offers and higher home sale prices,” OREA President Sean Morrison said. “In order to keep the dream of home ownership alive for future generations, we need to make it easier for young families and first-time buyers to own a home. Ontario needs to address the missing middle of housing supply by exploring innovative solutions like laneway housing and multi-unit homes, such as townhouses, stacked flats or mid-rise buildings, especially in downtown and urban areas.”

When it comes to location, millennials are more likely than boomers to be looking at downtown or urban cores (31 per cent) or suburban areas (35 per cent), with an emphasis placed on affordability, safe and quality neighbourhoods and distance from work.

By contrast, the majority of Ontario’s boomer buyers – 58 per cent – are looking for a property either in a small town or rural area, and their focus is on finding a home that is affordable, close to amenities, walkable, and senior-friendly.

Not surprisingly, the number-one reason for boomers to be selling their property is due to a desire to downsize (37 per cent) followed by age or health reasons (18 per cent). They are also more likely to buy a low-rise condo than any other generation, with 10 per cent of boomers saying they’re hunting for something under five stories, versus six per cent of buyers province wide.