Study pro­files new home buy­ers across Canada

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

THE Al­tus Group re­cently pub­lished a short pa­per that pro­filed new home buy­ers across Canada. Ad­mit­tedly, hard data are scarce, with the best in­for­ma­tion com­ing from ma­jor ur­ban cen­tres. How­ever, the ob­ser­va­tions ring true across the coun­try. Ap­prox­i­mately one in 100 house­holds, or one per cent, pur­chased a newly built home dur­ing the most re­cent five year pe­riod stud­ied (2006 – 2011). Ap­prox­i­mately four per cent of all house­holds bought a home (new or re­sale) over the same pe­riod. The most ac­tive pe­riod per­cent­age-wise for new home pur­chases ver­sus to­tal home sales was 1986 to 1991. The 20 en­su­ing years were fairly con­sis­tent. As an­tic­i­pated, home buy­ers un­der 45-years old ac­counted for al­most 60 per cent of all home pur­chases with new homes and ex­ist­ing home per­cent­ages be­ing sim­i­lar. This statis­tic em­pha­sizes the sig­nif­i­cance of the first-time buyer who would fall within this de­mo­graphic. Those over 55 ac­counted for 20 per cent of sales. Although cou­ples with chil­dren still ac­count for the ma­jor­ity of new home sales, their per­cent­age has de­clined from 57 per cent in the 1986 to 1991 pe­riod to 44 per cent in the 2006 to 2011 pe­riod. The great­est growth sec­tor has been the sin­gle new home buyer, a group that has dou­bled in size over the same pe­riod. Who are th­ese peo­ple? Well, one in four are over 55. More than half have in­comes of less than $60,000. Again, this is a very im­por­tant group as it rep­re­sents the first-time home buyer who sees a need to get into the mar­ket now, when mort­gage rates are low and home val­ues con­tinue to in­crease. Half of th­ese pur­chases were sin­gle fam­ily homes, de­bunk­ing the premise all sin­gle buy­ers are look­ing for apart­ments or con­do­mini­ums. This group is also split evenly be­tween males and fe­males. To no one’s sur­prise, cou­ples with chil­dren over­whelm­ingly opt for sin­gle fam­ily de­tached homes. A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new home buy­ers in Canada pur­chase their homes in the same lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity or area where they were al­ready living. Although not sub­stan­ti­ated with data, if we were to ap­ply this premise to Win­nipeg, we could ar­gue that many of those buy­ing new in Transcona, St. Vi­tal or Ft. Garry al­ready live in those neigh­bour­hoods and are look­ing to up­grade their hous­ing while still re­main­ing close to the ameni­ties they cur­rently en­joy. Although the above re­search was col­lected na­tion­ally, I don’t see any­thing that couldn’t be ap­plied lo­cally to the Win­nipeg and Man­i­toba mar­kets.

Mike Moore is pres­i­dent of the Man­i­toba Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new home buy­ers in Canada pur­chase their homes in the same lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity or area where they were

al­ready living.

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