According to the TD Canada Trust Boomer Buyers Report, when Canadian boomers make their next move they will be looking to downsize to smaller homes. Four-in-five Canadian boomers say their next move will be to a smaller home, either to save money (46 per cent) or to enjoy more luxurious features (34 per cent).
When it comes to equity in their homes, this may surprise you. Only 44 per cent have paid off their entire mortgage. Of those boomers who have a mortgage, one-third have paid off more than 60 per cent, but one-quarter have paid off less than 25 per cent of their mortgage.
The desire for a detached, single-family home dominates as the first choice of 61 per cent of those surveyed. Condos come in at 24 per cent. Sixty-one per cent of boomers want a backyard and garden and 57 per cent balk at having to pay condo fees. On a personal note, I wonder if a question should have been included about having the rules and a board of directors dictate lifestyle.
Eighty-four per cent of those who want a condo are looking for less maintenance, while 54 per cent want the gated community and security aspect. Forty-seven per cent said they wanted a gym and pool, but seasoned Realtors know that most gyms do not get the use of 47 per cent of the residents in a complex.
Forty-nine per cent of boomers just do not want to move, with 61 per cent giving the reason that moving is too stressful. Forty-three per cent said that their present house is just the right size for them and 28 per cent responded that they liked to have an extra room for guests. For Realtors, this means these boomers will not move by choice but by circumstance, such as failing health or death or financial problems.
Cottage country is in demand, with nine per cent of boomers currently owning a vacation property and an additional 12 per cent wanting to buy one to retire to. Ninety-nine per cent of those who wanted to buy vacation property cited location as their number one criteria. While 98 per cent were concerned about price, 95 per cent wanted low maintenance and 92 per cent wanted room for visitors. The high percentage of those wanting low maintenance indicates a strong future for cottage country townhouse and condominium growth versus the traditional detached cottage.
Due to the depressed real estate market in the United States, one-third of boomers are thinking of buying a Sunbelt property and 12 per cent were actively looking at the time of the survey.
The TD Canada Trust report is online and has dissected Canada into regions with different results for each area. Any Realtor who wants to understand where the market is heading in coming years wants to understand the mindset of the baby boomers and wants to get a grip on their own real estate practice should review the survey carefully. I was so impressed with the data and the quality of the reports that they have been incorporated into the teaching of the Accredited Senior Agent designation program.
The TD Canada Trust Boomer Buyers Report results were collected through a custom online survey of 1,000 completed surveys collected between Sept. 30 and Oct. 9, 2010. All participants were born between 1946 and 1964. For more information visit www.smrmediaroom.ca/BoomerBuyers.
Barry Lebow, a long-time columnist for REM, returns to the fold after a hiatus of almost two years due to personal and business reasons. Barry started as a Realtor in 1968. He is an appraiser, arbitrator and educator. Today, he specializes in being an expert witness in stigma and agency matters but is most active as founder & CEO of the Accredited Senior Agent professional designation program for Realtors that now has 700 members and continues to grow. A long time writer, author and speaker, Barry is considered one of Canada’s most dynamic real estate facilitators. 416-784-9806; Email email@example.com