Investors helping 'drive' the market, says report

by Jemima Codrington23 Jan 2013

A new survey from RE/MAX, “RE/MAX Canadian Homebuying Trends Survey 2013-2014”, reveals that multi-time buyers are accounting for 41% of all home purchases in Canada. Combined with second-time buyers, the number of buyers purchasing property for the second time or more will account for 70% of home purchases.

Gurinder Sandhu, Executive VP Regional Director REMAX Ontario and Atlantic Canada, says investors fall under this umbrella.

“There are a fair number of investors in that multi-buyer category,” he said. “The challenge is we don’t know how many.
“We know based on discussions with our realtors that there is an increasing number, because over the past 17 years, real estate has been a sound investment.”

Sandhu was also quick to point out that immigration in urban areas is helping to prop up the condo market, despite fears that it’s in bubble territory.

“We still see demand for that product because it represents a product that is more affordable than others,” he said.
RE/MAX surveyed 1,109 purchasers who intended to buy over the next two years, and found that 39 per cent of those surveyed were multi-time buyers, 31per cent were second-time buyers and 30 per cent were first-time. The demographic is a shift from previous years as investors took the helm early last year and dove into the market.

"Between 2009 and 2011, first-time buyers were the engine driving housing activity, taking advantage of favourable conditions and a recovering economy," says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. "That changed in 2012, and even earlier in B.C., as prices reached a breaking point.”

But when quizzed about prices, the response was remarkably positive considering the current climate. 48 per cent of respondents believed housing values will rise, while 35 per cent believe they’ll remain the same. And according to the report, low vacancy rates and higher rents have driven some survey participants away from the rental market and into homeownership. When considering a property type, the majority of buyers were interested in larger properties, and lifestyle and investment were noted as “principle drivers” in the decision to purchase.

The survey also revealed a higher number of women active in home-buying. "Our Realtors   have definitely seen an upswing in the number of female homebuyers active in the market in recent years—and the survey confirms those anecdotal accounts," said Ash.

However the numbers stack up, the report generally indicates that mature, seasoned buyers are taking the helm and profiting from the current market. "Today's real estate consumer is more experienced and financially prudent than in the past," added Ash, “it seems the lessons of excess are being heeded."

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