Who is the typical Canadian home buyer?

Tuesday Sep 20th, 2016


Not a day goes by without a new piece of news popping up about the real estate market in Canada. As we’ve been watching home prices hitting record after record in most metropolises across Canada, most of us have probably been asking ourselves where all this is going and how the changes are impacting home buyers and real estate professionals alike. Are Canadians accustomed to the idea that they need to dig deeper into their pockets in order to buy a home – and what kind of homes are they now looking for?

To find the answer to these questions, we analyzed three months’ worth of home buying search behaviour on Point2 Homes Canada. This translates into a whopping six million browsing sessions, which we believe are more than enough to build a profile of the Canadian home buyer.

Here are our key findings, at a glance:

  • Nationwide, online home browsing is predominantly done by women (60 per cent of home buyers searching on Point2 Homes are women).
  • Among age groups, millennials are the lead segment in most cities, followed by Generation Y.
  • The most popular home price segment is between $300,000 and $400,000, which is way below the national home price average of just over $500,000.
  • There seems to be a striking discrepancy between market reality and search preferences in certain cities across Canada. The biggest surprise came from Toronto, where home buyers on Point2 Homes were looking for homes priced up to $400,000 when the average price there is $750,000. In Vancouver we also found a huge discrepancy between the most popular search – homes up to $750,000 – and the average price of $1,055,000.
  • When it comes to space, there’s a very strong preference for large homes (three and four+ bedrooms); less than a quarter of home seekers were looking for homes with less than three bedrooms.
  • Regional differences are quite common: for example, in Alberta four out of 10 people are interested in four+ bedroom homes. At the other end of the spectrum stands Nova Scotia, where only two in 10 people are searching in this segment.

Although from province to province home buyers’ searches by price differ, one thing is obvious: the biggest percentage of home seekers (25 per cent) are interested in homes that cost between $300,000 and $400,000, which is significantly below the national average of just over $500,000. If you think, okay, then people are ready to downsize … well, think again. Nationwide, almost half of the searches (46 per cent) targeted homes that have at least three bedrooms, while 31 per cent are looking for even larger properties (four+ bedrooms).

For the full results of our survey: The Profile of the Canadian Home Buyer

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