When it comes to house hunting, we all dream about finding a home that ticks all the boxes…but is that realistic, especially when you’re just starting out? I came across an article by Steve Randall in the online magazine Real Estate Professional that shows just how long it can take to achieve that Canadian Dream.
Most Canadians are not living in their ideal home! About 41% of Canadians feel their homes are close to being ideal and when age is factored in only a third of 25-54 year olds feel this way. One in five homeowners in the 45-54 age category say their current home is “far from ideal”. While more than half of those over age 55 say they are close to their “dream home” situation. The statistics for the 25-54 year olds don’t surprise me. How many of us could afford the home of our dreams when we were just starting out? Even in rural areas like ours, property prices are relative to incomes and – barring a substantial gift from family – it usually takes a good few years for first time buyers to settle in at work, establish a strong, steady income and save up enough for their down payment. Twenty one years ago it took us three years!
What is surprising is that in general, people don’t feel fully satisfied with their homes until about age 50. Maybe that’s due to the “grass is always greener” and “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality that we all suffer from, more these days than ever, it seems. We really should learn to appreciate what we have instead of always wishing for more…it’s easier to be happy that way!
Also surprising to me is that while 66% of Canadians dream of a single detached home, about 25% said they’d prefer an apartment, mostly because they aspire to living a “low-maintenance lifestyle”. We can see this playing out with the rise of condos in the GTA and even local areas like Collingwood. Truth be told, there are days when I think about how nice it would be if it was someone else’s job to blow out the drive, cut the grass and keep the outside of the house clean and tidy!
So what are Canadian homeowners looking for? The two most important factors for potential buyers noted in this article are type of home and location. Next come the condition of the home, its size, proximity to amenities and the age of home. Not surprisingly, buyers in the 35-44 age range showed the highest interest in fully detached houses, which makes sense when you consider that they’re the most likely to have children at home.
What does this mean for you? First and foremost, most buyers (particularly first time buyers) are not shopping for the embodiment of their home owner fantasies! Most of us don’t leave school and start at our dream jobs right away, we have to pay our dues and work our way up the ladder. The same can be said for home ownership: start with something good that you can afford, build up some equity and then you’re in a better situation when the time comes to look for your next home. Secondly, not every buyer is looking for a fully detached house so when you’re considering what type of property will appreciate in value over time, you’re better to leave some room for a variety of possibilities. That should make it easier for you in terms of finding a good match for yourself and your family!
And remember: whether you’re ready to find your first home, your dream home or something in between, I can help you!