Mil­len­ni­als know what they want

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

AC­CORD­ING to a re­cent Al­tus Group re­port, it’s a myth to as­sume that mil­len­ni­als can be type­cast into spe­cific cat­e­gories as it re­lates to hous­ing pref­er­ences.

There has been a pre­vail­ing view that mil­len­ni­als in larger mar­kets want to live down­town, pre­sum­ably where the ac­tion is and closer to work. It was as­sumed that even if it meant they would have to set­tle for less square footage of liv­ing space, they would do so in or­der to live down­town.

How­ever, re­sults show those un­der 35 years of age show no dif­fer­ence in pref­er­ences than the 35 – 49, 50 – 69 and those over 70 years old. Only 19 per cent of mil­len­ni­als agreed that they would pre­fer to live in a smaller home in a cen­tral area than a larger home in the sub­urbs. All four age groups landed be­tween 16 per cent and 22 per cent. In­ter­est­ingly enough, there was vir­tu­ally no dif­fer­ence be­tween the mil­len­ni­als, baby busters and baby boomers when it came to choos­ing to live in a smaller down­town space and a larger sub­ur­ban space.

A BMO poll in­di­cated, al­though Cana­dian mil­len­ni­als don’t like pay­ing rent, 70 per cent would rather hold out for a home that they re­ally want be­fore en­ter­ing the mar­ket with just any home. This may show some ad­di­tional cau­tion on their part as two-thirds of those sur­veyed in­di­cated that they are ac­tively sav­ing money for a down pay­ment.

Da­mon Knights of BMO warned prospec­tive buy­ers wait­ing for the per­fect sit­u­a­tion need to be mind­ful the hous­ing mar­ket is not wait­ing for them.

There was some fear the in­creas­ing real es­tate mar­ket prices in Canada’s two largest ur­ban cen­tres would re­sult in an ex­o­dus of the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion. That cer­tainly does not ap­pear to be true.

In Toronto, where prices have been in­creas­ing faster than any­where else in the coun­try, sales have also been brisk. The metro area is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­ju­ve­na­tion of younger buy­ers buy­ing their first homes.

Sim­i­larly, in Van­cou­ver, there were fears that mil­len­ni­als were ex­it­ing the city in droves due to ex­or­bi­tant house prices. How­ever, upon fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in the last 10 years metro Van­cou­ver has seen an in­crease of 86,000 peo­ple be­tween the ages of 20 and 34. That’s an 18 per cent in­crease ver­sus an over­all pop­u­la­tion in­crease of 9.3 per cent over the same pe­riod.

It is ev­i­dent mar­ket­ing to mil­len­ni­als is good busi­ness, but don’t make the mis­take of as­sum­ing that one size fits all. This gen­er­a­tion knows what it wants and is will­ing to both wait and pay for it.

LU­CAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR FILES

The metro area of Toronto is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­ju­ve­na­tion of younger buy­ers pur­chas­ing their first homes

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