Boomers stay­ing put in hous­ing mar­ket, sur­vey finds

But 63 per cent in On­tario say they can’t af­ford to re­tire in their cur­rent lo­ca­tion


The most af­flu­ent gen­er­a­tion in Cana­dian his­tory isn’t con­vinced that it needs to down­size. Even baby boomers who ex­pect to move to a smaller home in the next five years are wait­ing for the kids to leave and cast­ing about for more af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion in their re­tire­ment years.

Mean­time, the boomers, the co­hort born be­tween 1946 and 1964, is ren­o­vat- ing rather than mov­ing. Boomers are also help­ing the next gen­er­a­tion step on the prop­erty lad­der by al­low­ing adult chil­dren to live at home longer to save and even help­ing to fi­nance their home purchases.

A Leger on­line sur­vey of 1,000 baby boomers, nev­er­the­less, sug­gests the post­war gen­er­a­tion is set to have a huge im­pact on the Cana­dian hous­ing mar­ket with1.4 mil­lion (17 per cent) ex­pect­ing to buy or sell prop­erty by 2023.

But more than half — 52 per cent — say they won’t be down­siz­ing their ac­com­mo­da­tion, ac­cord­ing to the re­search for Royal LePage.

On­tario boomers had the high­est ex- pec­ta­tion of down­siz­ing in the coun­try with 49 per cent of re­spon­dents ex­pected to buy smaller, com­pared to 41 per cent na­tion­ally.

One in five re­spon­dents in On­tario said they would be buy­ing a new home within the next five years.

While 56 per cent of Cana­dian boomers in­di­cated they can’t af­ford re­tire­ment in their own neigh­bour­hood, that rose to 63 per cent in On­tario with 40 per cent say­ing they would be will­ing to move to a new city or sub­urb in search of more af­ford­able hous­ing.

A third said they would con­sider mov­ing more than an hour from their cur­rent home.

The sur­vey find­ings demon­strate that baby boomers, who are now be­tween 54 and 72, won’t be but­ton­holed into a par­tic­u­lar kind of home although a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber — 32 per cent — are look­ing to move into con­dos, said Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper.

In On­tario, 46 per cent of the sur­vey re­spon­dents said they would con­sider a condo.

The ag­ing de­mo­graphic, he said, “will put pres­sure par­tic­u­larly on larger con­dos, (some­times called lux­ury units) be­cause it’s chal­leng­ing for peo­ple to com­pletely down­size.”

“So we’ll see build­ing and pres­sure on the price of con­dos and in more re­mote sub­urbs of our big cities,” Soper said.

And sec­ondary cities with a “recre­ational feel” will be par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar for boomers, he added.

Soper said the Leger find­ings may even un­der­es­ti­mate the num­ber of boomers prepar­ing to change their liv­ing sit­u­a­tion be­cause the poll doesn’t gauge the op­pos­ing view­points among cou­ples.

One part­ner may think it’s time to move, while the other is reluc­tant be­cause they are at­tached to the fam­ily home or they sim­ply don’t want to con­front the ag­ing that a move sig­ni­fies, he said.

The sur­vey con­firms the find­ings of the com­pany’s ear­lier re­port on first-time buy­ers in the mil­len­nial co­hort — that the af­ford­abil­ity chal­lenges of younger adults are keep­ing boomers in their fam­ily homes longer, said Soper.

In On­tario, 51 per cent of sur­vey re­spon­dents ex­pected their chil­dren to leave home by age 25, and 17 per cent an­tic­i­pated they would leave by the time they were 30.

Na­tion­ally, 9 per cent of re­spon­dents in­di­cated their chil­dren could stay home un­til they were be­tween 30 and 35.

There is also a grow­ing con­sen­sus among 47 per cent of boomers that they will help their chil­dren buy a home.

“When I was a kid it was rare for par­ents to fi­nan­cially sup­port their kids in buy­ing a house and now it seems to be the norm,” said Soper, who falls in the boomer age bracket.

In On­tario, the num­ber was slightly higher — 50 per cent — with 44 per cent in­di­cat­ing they would be will­ing to con­trib­ute up to 25 per cent of the cost of their child’s home.

The lat­est re­search shows that 59 per cent of baby boomers are ren­o­vat­ing rather than mov­ing.

“For boomers it’s not putting in hand rails and non-slip sur­faces — they’re not quite that old,” Soper said.

“The ren­o­va­tions are prob­a­bly qual­ity-of-life based, as op­posed to ac­com­mo­da­tion for phys­i­cal ail­ments.”

Among On­tar­i­ans plan­ning to buy a home, 45 per cent ex­pected to pay less than $450,000 with 19 per cent bud­get­ing less than $250,000.

The re­search was based on Leger’s on­line panel be­tween July 12 and 17.

The re­sults are ex­pected to be ac­cu­rate within 3 per cent 19 times out of 20.

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