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2021 New Home Wish List

Report shows approximately 15 million Canadians are looking to "upsize" vs "downsize" in their next move.

For more than a year now we have seen die-hard downtowners leaving metropolitan centres like Toronto and Vancouver for actual “greener pastures” with the adoption of virtual work. While, at the same time extended families have quarantined together, with young Canadians moving back to their parents’ houses in the millions. On the flipside we have seen Canadian marriages breaking up at double or triple typical rates due in part to pandemic pressures and stresses.

These new trends began at the onset of the pandemic, and while still evolving, it’s clear that the dust hasn’t exactly settled yet and Canadians are still making moves. Not only are they re-evaluating their priorities in HOW they want to live and WHO with, but also WHERE they want to live and what they will prioritize in their next home.

In fact, new research from global comparison site finder.com finds that nearly half of Canadians (45%), or more than 14 million Canadians, plan to make housing moves in 2021. Interestingly, twice as many Canadians said they planned to buy compared to those planning to rent (30% vs 15%) a new home in 2021.

So clearly based on this data, Canada’s red hot housing market hasn’t killed the dream of home ownership just yet – especially not for more than half of millennials, the group most likely to be on the move, with about 46% saying they planned to buy a house or apartment in 2021.

Millennials on the move

Interestingly, our report shows millennials are most likely to plan a move, with more than half (64%) planning to either buy or rent a new place in 2021 — that’s nearly 20% more than the national average and close to triple the rate of boomers (22%).

And while age is the biggest factor overall in whether you are planning to buy or rent a new home in 2021, there are many other factors like relationship status, province and income level that contribute to whether you will plan to make a move this year.

So who exactly is planning to move in 2021? Are they renting or buying? Let’s dig into the data for key demographic insights:

  • Age
    • An astounding nearly 2 in 3 millennials (64%) said they planned to buy or rent a new house or condo this year.
    • Nearly half of millennials (46%) were planning to buy a home (38% for house, 8% for condo/apt).
    • Nearly half (54%) of Gen Z planned to move in 2021 with 27% saying they planned to buy real estate.
    • Millennials and Gen Z are twice as likely to buy or rent condos/apts with an average of 21%, as compared to Gen X and Boomers (average 9%).
    • Boomers are least likely to buy or rent a new home in 2021 with 78% staying put.
    • Like Boomers, the majority of Gen X is staying put in 2021 (66%) but if they are making moves, it is most likely to be buying a house (19%).
    • More than a quarter of Gen Z (27%) planned to get a new rental this year, whereas just 1 in 10 Boomers are looking to rent a new place.
  • Gender
    • Nearly half of men (48%) plan to buy or rent a new home vs just 42% of women.
    • There are more men that plan to buy property in 2021 (28% vs 21% of women).
  • Relationship status
    • Married people are the most likely to say they were buying a home in 2021 (49%) and least likely to rent (8%).
    • Most likely to rent are those in common law relationships (22%) and separated or divorced (21%).
  • Income
    • On average 53% of higher income Canadians ($100k+) are planning to buy or rent a home in 2021 compared to just 42% (average) of those making $60k or less.
    • 43% of those making $100–$120k a year are planning to buy a home in 2021.
  • Region
    • Nearly half of Quebecers (49%) are planning to buy or rent a home in 2021, followed closely by British Columbians and Manitobans (48%).
    • About a quarter (27%) of Ontarians plan to buy a home in 2021.
    • Prairie provinces Manitoba (19%) and Saskatchewan (24%) looking for new rentals.

What do Canadians really want in their next home?

We asked Canadians what factors mattered to them in their next home across 15 categories and overall it looks like Canadians think bigger is better when it comes to their next home. Since a new home with more space and rooms took the top spot for nearly half of Canadians (48.3%).

That’s nearly 15 million Canadians that are looking to “upsize” vs “downsize” in their next move.

Coming in a very close second is “style and look of the home” with 48% of Canadians prioritizing style for their next move. Rounding out the top 3 with 43.8% of people is a spacious backyard or outdoor space.

Check out the chart below for the full list of national housing priorities in order of popularity.

Now let’s take a deeper look at how Canada’s priorities shift based on demographic influences like gender, age, income and region:

  • Gender
    • Women care much more about the style and look of the home (53% vs 44% for men), being in a low-crime neighbourhood (44% vs 33% of men) and a spacious backyard (50% vs 38%).
    • The only factor that men cared about more than women was whether the home was a new build (21% vs just 17% of women).
  • Age
    • It seems each generation has different priorities in their next home:
      • Millennials seem to be the most discerning about having a bigger (52%), stylish (49%) home with luxury details (23%). And they also care more than any other generation about having a home office (26%) and being near amenities (39%) like bars, restaurants and gyms.
      • For gen Z it’s all about proximity – to work (39%), transit (37%) and friends (35%).
      • Half of baby boomers (50%) cite having a driveway or garage as the most important factor in a home and nearly half (47%) want to be located in a low-crime neighbourhood.
      • About a quarter of baby boomers (26%) want to have a green or energy-efficient home.
      • The only thing gen X cares more about than any other generation is having a large backyard (47%).
  • Income
    • Unsurprisingly, Canada’s highest income earners ($120k+) are the most likely to care most about the size of their home (64%) and want it to incorporate luxury features (37%) along with being a green or energy-efficient home (31%).
    • While Canada’s lowest income earners (under $20k) are most concerned about living somewhere safe (43%) and close to transit (36%).
  • Region
    • The factors people care about most in their next home vary widely based on where they live in Canada.
    • B.C. is the province most concerned with proximity. British Columbians care most about being close to friends (39%), amenities like bars and restaurants (42%), transit (38%) and daycare and schools (16%).
    • More than a quarter of Albertans (26%) want their next home to be brand spanking new. Far more than any other province. Nearly a quarter (24%) also want luxury details in their home which makes sense considering around the same amount want a brand new home.
    • Perhaps Manitobans plan to work from home a lot more as they care the least about their next home’s proximity to work, with just under 2 in 10 (19%) saying it was a factor that mattered to them.
    • In Ontario bigger is better compared to the rest of Canada, with more than half of people (53%) wanting a larger home with more rooms and about the same amount care about the style and look of the home (52%).
    • Quebecers are least concerned of any province about living in a low-crime area (25%) and about living close to transit (26%).
    • Nova Scotians really love their cars. 6 in 10 of them said a driveway or garage mattered in their next home – the most of any province.

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