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Millennials are practical, Boomers want fun and social life, major provincial divide: home buyers survey

DH Vancouver Staff Oct 10, 2013 8:17 am

British Columbian home buyers are more likely to place a greater emphasis on choosing a great location with outdoor spaces, according to a survey released by CENTURY 21 Canada and RONA.


The National Home Buyer Preferences Survey, conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, reveals British Columbian home buyers’ desire for convenience is the highest in the country. 72 percent rank a convenient location amongst their top three priorities when it comes to home buying.

Not surprisingly, British Columbian home buyers are also more likely than any other Canadian region to value the great outdoors at home with 28 per cent ranking an outdoor space as their number one priority for home features.

The survey also found that Canadians in general rank buying a home in which sellers have already done the renovations, and is thus move-in ready, as their number one home-buying priority (25 per cent), while location (23 per cent) and having funds left over for personal expenses (23 per cent) are also top considerations.

“Canadians are united in wanting move-in ready homes, which is valuable information for those planning to sell,” said Don Lawby, President of Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership. “Now ‘prime location’ isn’t just defined by convenience, as lifestyle considerations are equally important in a neighbourhood.”

As well, Canadians are planning to move soon with half surveyed (49 per cent) planning to move in the next five years, including one-in-four within the next two years (23 per cent).

The home buyers of each Canadian province have their own style and preferences when it comes to choosing their home.

Atlantic Canada’s home buyers are known to be practical, valuing the location’s access to amenities and services (90 per cent in top 3) and having funds remaining for personal expenses (72 per cent in top 3). Meanwhile, neighbouring Quebecois home buyers want convenience for their commute (75 per cent in top 3) as well as a move-in ready home (72 per cent in top 3) more than any other region.

Ontarian home buyers are more likely than any other region to desire a character home (42 per cent) and are also most likely to move to another home within the two years (25 per cent), a sign that the Ontarian real estate market will remain active.

The Prairies’ provinces home buyers prioritize their social lives when choosing a home. They are the most likely, of any region, to want a sense of belonging in the community (58 per cent in top 3) they move into. In addition, placing social life first, they are also by far most likely to want to have post-home purchase funds left over for socializing (84 per cent in top 3).

While the Prairies place great importance in their social life, Albertan home buyers are family focused – they are most likely to rank living in a family-oriented community as their number one community desire (19 per cent). While British Columbians value outdoor spaces, Albertans are most likely to rank an indoor layout to fit their lifestyle as their top home feature priority (39 per cent).

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Home Buyers Survey

There were also some great divides between Millennials and Boomers on what makes the ideal Canadian home.

Millennials position themselves to succeed as they are twice as likely as Boomers (Millennials 33 per cent, Baby Boomers 17 per cent) to rank location as their top home buying priority, with young professionals especially focused on this factor. Millennials also place higher importance on having a shorter commute than other generations (Millennials 46 per cent, Baby Boomers 26 per cent) when asked what they look for in a home location.

The new generation is also highly mobile with the survey finding that 37 per cent are likely to move within the next two years. Millennials also want homes with personality – they are more likely to consider the character of the home and curb appeal (19 per cent combined) as important home features than older generations (Baby Boomers seven per cent combined).

In great contrast, Boomers have fun on their minds. They are social butterflies who use their home as a base and are more concerned about having left over funds post-home purchase (Baby Boomers 26 per cent, Millennials 18 per cent) for travel, personalizing their homes and socializing. They also rank having social activities nearby in their top home location priorities (ranked as one of their top three location priorities: Baby Boomers 77 per cent, Millennials 52 per cent).

Boomers view their community as a second home, placing a higher emphasis on a sense of belonging in the community they purchase in (Baby Boomers 15 per cent, Millennials 10 per cent). They are more interested in purchasing in a neighbourhood that has a strong community culture that fits them (Baby Boomers 19 per cent, Millennials 10 per cent) and place higher priority on having access to services and amenities near their home (Baby Boomers 45 per cent, Millennials 21 per cent).

Unlike the Millennials, Boomers want a practical home: they rank having a move-in ready home as their number one priority with less concern for the location itself, ranking it only fourth on their list. Empty nesters and early retirees are especially focused on buying a home that’s move-in ready.

Home Buyers Survey


DH Vancouver Staff
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