A new report released by Mustel Group and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada uncovers trends related to aging and its impact on the housing aspirations, expectations and realities of baby boomers and older adults across the country’s major metropolitan real estate markets. Our “2020 Generational Real Estate Trends Report: Aging in Place” also highlights the gap between this cohort’s desire to age in place in their current homes, and their expectations and plans to sell and move to another primary home during their lifetime.
The first in a multi-part series focused on baby boomers and older adults over the age of 54, the report is based on findings from a survey of 1,764 homeowners ages 54 years or older in Canada’s four largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs): Metro Vancouver, Greater Calgary, Greater Toronto and Greater Montreal. It is one of the first studies in Canada to focus on the housing aspirations, expectations and realities of the baby boomer generation, as well as those who are older, with findings based on homeowners already invested in the housing market.
Housing Planning for Aging: A Key Concern for Canada’s Baby Boomers and Older Adults
Since 2011, the first year that the baby boom generation began turning 65, the proportion of seniors in Canada has accelerated and is projected to rise rapidly as more from this significant generational cohort turn 65. By 2024, it is expected that one in five Canadians will be aged 65 and older. With these monumental demographic shifts, challenges and opportunities relating to urban aging have emerged
in Canada’s largest metropolitan real estate markets as government, developers and individual homeowners contend with the need to make homes, neighbourhoods and cities age-friendly for current and future generations of older people.
According to Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s survey findings, housing-related needs that come with aging have been longstanding concerns for a considerable percentage of urban Canadian baby boomer/older adult homeowners. 46% reported that advance planning for their needs as they age influenced the purchase of their current home. Safety, transit friendliness and proximity to a grocery store were the leading priorities for ensuring an age-friendly neighbourhood, reported by 45%, 37% and 34% respectively as being amongst their top aging-related considerations when buying their home. Priority home features to accommodate aging in place included having a full bathroom on the main level, single-level housing and having a main-level bedroom or room that can be used as a bedroom, cited by 35%, 27% and 26% respectively. For condominium owners, having an elevator, indoor fitness and wellness amenities and security service were the leading priorities when planning for their needs with aging, reported as key considerations by 68%, 41% and 33% respectively.
Aging in Place: Desires vs. Expectations & Realities
Results from the Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada survey reveal that while the vast majority of baby boomers/older homeowners in the country’s largest metropolitan areas have a desire to live in their current home and neighbourhood for as long as possible, they are more equally divided in terms of whether they expect to sell and move to a new primary home during their lifetimes.
86% agree that they want to live in their home for as long as they can, with 59% expressing strong agreement with this sentiment. Meanwhile, 88% agree that they want to live in their current neighbourhood for as long as they can, with 61% strongly agreeing with this sentiment.
However, Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s survey findings reveal that 36% of baby boomer/ older adult homeowners expect they will likely sell and move to a new home during their lifetime, with 14% expecting to move to a different city, 13% expecting to move to a different neighbourhood within their current city and 9% expecting to move to a different home within the same neighbourhood. 34% expect that they will stay in their current home and never move, while 30% are unsure.
Those who plan to sell their home and move are most likely to be motivated by the desire to downsize into a smaller home due to concerns that their existing one will be too large as they age, with 54% reporting this as a key motivation, followed by concerns about needing to maintain their current home, as well as its physical layout. Notably, 25% reported that cashing out to allow for more lifestyle expenses would be one of their key motivations, while 12% indicated selling their home to support basic post-retirement costs of living would be a key factor.
Enduring Demand for Primary Home Ownership
Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s survey results indicate that today’s baby boomer/older adult homeowners are poised to remain influential real estate consumers in the coming years. 76% of those who expect that they will move from their current home plan on buying their replacement primary residence; 11% plan to rent, while 1% plan to move in with a family member.
Prospective home sellers in Vancouver and Calgary plan to buy a replacement primary residence at rates of 87% and 82% respectively, compared to rates of 78% in Toronto and 63% in Montreal.
Demand for Condominiums Surpasses Other Housing Types
The impact of Canada’s aging population on the condominium markets of the country’s major cities has been broadly reported, however, Mustel Group/Sotheby’s International Realty Canada survey results reveal new details.
According to survey results, 54% of baby boomer/older adult homeowners with plans to sell their current home and move to a different primary residence expect to move into a condominium. 29% expect to move into a single-family home while 18% expect to move into an attached or duplex/triplex unit.
Condominium demand is strongest amongst those in Montreal, with 64% of those with plans to sell reporting that they are likely to move into a condo.
Condominiums are also the predominant choice amongst baby boomer/older adult homeowners in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary with plans to sell their primary home, with 52%, 51% and 45% reporting that they expect their replacement home to be condominium.
The information contained in this report references survey results, plus market data from MLS boards across Canada. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada cautions that MLS market data can be useful in establishing trends over time but does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differentials within local markets. This report is published for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information and analysis presented in this report, no responsibility or liability whatsoever can be accepted by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, or Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates or Mustel Group for any loss or damage resultant from any use of, reliance on or reference to the contents of this document.