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The Baby Boom Echo Affects Differing Views on Housing

Ontarians who belong to the millennial generation worry that real estate prices will keep rising forever. Their parents and grandparents, meanwhile, are almost as fearful that they won’t.

That generational divide was highlighted in the results of a survey commissioned by the Real Estate Council of Ontario.

It found that 84 per cent of young people are anxious about whether they’ll ever be able to afford a home that they like, while nearly 70 per cent of baby boomers and seniors are most concerned about getting the maximum value out of their homes – suggesting they imagine that prices may decline at some point.

“The young buyers are really focused on the affordability,” says Kelvin Kucey, deputy registrar for regulatory compliance at RECO.

When it comes to finding an agent for all age groups, Mr. Kucey was astonished to find that one in 10 don’t do any research at all. He explains that 30 per cent of people conduct an online search, 15 per cent will go by lawn signs in the neighbourhood and others will ask for referrals from friends and family. But those that don’t do any research just happen upon an agent because they find a flyer in their mailbox, for example.

Mr. Kucey recommends that people ask for referrals and then interview a handful of agents.

RECO provides videos and guides with advice on finding an agent. “Nail down what services are going to be provided and at what price,” he advises. “Treat it as a job interview.”

Mr. Kucey is also intrigued by some of the differences in priorties among people in different parts of the province. In Northern Ontario, by far the biggest concern is about rising closing costs, with 92 per cent of respondents saying that is their main worry about the real estate market. Those in Eastern Ontario are more nervous about how long their current home will sit on the market, with 22 per cent marking that as their chief concern. Residents of the Greater Toronto Area are the most jittery about a downturn: 64 per cent say that’s their top worry.

Angus Reid conducted the survey of 800 people who have bought a home within the past two years or are planning to buy one within the next two. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.46 percentage 19 times out of 20.


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