Step aside, Downsizer. The Move-Over home buyer is here

We’ve seen “move-up” and “move-down” buyers, but there’s a new breed of homebuyer out there that’s evolved with today’s high-priced housing reality. The move-over home buyer is a growing group of purchasers seeking a balance of affordability, square footage, and access to amenities and infrastructure – and they’re finding it outside of the 416.

Significant price increases and high demand in the Greater Toronto Area during the first quarter of 2017 spurred growing numbers of buyers to leave the downtown core, in search of greater affordability in markets across southern Ontario, according to a recent report from ReMax. In turn, they are driving price appreciation in Mississauga, Brampton, Durham, Barrie, Hamilton-Burlington, Windsor, and as far away as Kingston.

The average home in the GTA increased 29 per cent, from $675,492 in the first quarter of 2016 to $873,631 in the first quarter of 2017.

A recent ReMax survey conducted by Leger found that, when making buying decisions, over two-thirds of Canadians consider the location of a home to be more important than the style or size of the home. Respondents indicated that beyond price, a number of other factors influence home purchases, including access to greenspace (77 per cent), proximity to work (66 per cent), proximity to retail centres (65 per cent), and proximity to family and friends (65 per cent). All of these ranked higher than the style of a home.

In response to heightened housing activity across the GTA, the Ontario government announced the 16-point Fair Housing Plan which includes a 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax, along with a number of other regulations in an effort to balance the market while preventing a harmful sharp correction. Similar to the foreign buyer tax introduced in Vancouver last year, the impact of this measure on market and buyer activity in the long run is difficult to predict. This measure may impact consumer confidence in the short-term, as buyers hold out until they fully understand how they are affected, causing overall market activity to slow.

“Toronto and Vancouver are very different markets as Vancouver’s population and geography are much smaller. At this point there is limited data on how many foreign speculators are active in the GTA market, but it is fair to assume that the new tax will impact the middle-class and not just buyers in the upper-end of the market,” says Christopher Alexander, regional director of ReMax Integra Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “In the short-term, potential sales may stall as buyers wait to see the impact of the changes, which in turn could create a ripple effect throughout the Golden Horseshoe, however, it will be interesting to see how this new legislation will affect the demand for housing in the market.”

KEY FINDINGS from the 2017 Re/Max Spring Market Trends Omnibus Survey

When purchasing a home, 68% of Ontarians consider the location of a home to be more important than the style or size of a home

Only half of Ontarians (46%) feel like they can purchase the type of home that suits their families’ needs

Beyond price, here are the factors that influenced neighbourhood choice in Canada:

  • Prices of homes in the neighbourhood (89%)
  • Access to green spaces and parks (77%)
  • Proximity to work (66%)
  • Proximity to retail centres (65%)
  • Proximity to family and friends (65%)
  • Style of homes in the neighbourhood (64%)
  • Proximity to public transit (56%)
  • Proximity to preferred schools (43%)
  • Proximity to cultural and community centres (42%)

    Drilling down further…
    here’s where these rank for Millennial home hunters:
  • Price of homes (85%)
  • Proximity to work (84%)
  • Access to green space and parks (76%)
  • Proximity to family and friends (71%)
  • Proximity to preferred schools (65%)
  • Style of homes (65%)
  • Proximity to retail centres (61%)
  • Proximity to public transit (61%)
  • Proximity to cultural and community centres (46%)

 

Canadians rate the following resources as being helpful to them when buying a home:

  • Access to a real estate agent: 79%
  • Information and recommendations from friends and family (regarding the neighbourhood of your choice, home value, home features and amenities): 80%
  • Online listings: 90%
  • Easy access to info about homes in the neighbourhood (types of homes, age of homes, average home prices) that you are considering buying in: 90%
  • Easy access to community info (average age, education levels, average income etc.) for the neighbourhood that you are considering buying a
    home in: 70%
  • Easy access to info about schools in the neighbourhood that you are considering buying a home in: 56%

    Furthermore… Here’s how these rank for Canadian Millennials:

  • Access to a real estate agent: 76%
  • Information and recommendations from friends and family (regarding the neighbourhood of your choice, home value, home features and amenities): 81%
  • Online listings: 88%
  • Easy access to info about homes in the neighbourhood (types of homes, age of homes, average home prices) that you are considering buying in: 87%
  • Easy access to community info (average age, education levels, average income etc.) for the neighbourhood that you are considering buying a home in: 68%
  • Easy access to info about schools in the neighbourhood that you are considering buying a home in: 72%

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