What is driving Canadians to purchase a home – and their expectations

Offering excellent service to your current and future clients includes anticipating their needs, desires and expectations when it comes to buying a home.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) first ever Prospective Home Buyers Survey may offer some valuable insights to consider. This national, online survey captures the attitudes and expectations of over 2,500 prime household decision-makers who intend to purchase a home within the next two years. The three groups of prospective buyers included in the survey were first-time buyersprevious owners, and current owners.
Housing Expectations

An existing move-in ready home is the top choice for all prospective home buyers. While the desire for a newly constructed house is higher among current homeowners, only about one-fifth of first-time buyers and previous homeowners are looking for brand new homes.

Housing preference graphic.

Purchasing an existing home that requires renovation is more appealing to first-time buyers and previous homeowners. The top reasons among all prospective home buyers for wanting to purchase a home that requires renovation are related to customization and affordability. Current owners are also driven by increasing the value of their home.

Single detached homes are preferred by the majority, especially by current homeowners. Apartments and condominiums are next, followed by semi-detached houses including duplex, and townhouses.

Maximum House Price

More than half of first-time buyers and previous homeowners are planning to spend less than $300,000 on the home they intend to purchase, while roughly one-quarter intend to spend between $300,000 to just under $500,000.

Budget graphic.

In comparison, one-third of current homeowners are planning to spend under $300,000, and a similar proportion is looking for options over the half-million dollar range. Most prospective home buyers from all groups say they cannot afford to pay more than what they plan to spend on their purchase.

Nevertheless, the majority of prospective home buyers feel confident they can find a suitable home they can afford, with first-time buyers showing less confidence than current owners. Nearly half of first-time buyers say they would delay their home purchase, with a fairly similar proportion saying they would be willing to compromise on the size of the home and location, should they not find their ideal home. Current homeowners are less likely to delay their purchase.

Compromises graphic.

Help your clients navigate the home purchase process with CMHC’s online Homebuying Step by Step guide and workbooks, where they can also access calculators, track their budget and save notes.

The full results of the survey are available on CMHC’s website.

Do these survey results reflect your experience with your clients? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Carla joined CMHC in 1998 and worked in a variety of roles in both CMHC’s Prairies and Atlantic offices. In 2013, she moved to Ottawa to take on the role of Director of Community Development and was appointed Vice-President Affordable Housing in January 2015. Carla also took on the role of Diversity and Inclusion Champion for CMHC in 2016. In 2018, Carla moved to her current role in the Insurance Sector as Vice-President, Client Relationship Management. Carla is truly grateful for a career where she has the opportunity to make a difference in helping Canadians meet their housing needs.


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