More Canadians seeing the value of working with a real estate professional

By Sam Carnovale

More Canadians are working with real estate professionals during a real estate transaction, according to a recent survey.

Every year, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) carries out an in-depth survey of Canadians to find out their perspectives about homeownership. In 2019, 1,385 first-time and repeat home buyers took part in the online survey. The participants were home buyers from across Canada who had undertaken a mortgage transaction in the past 18 months.

The survey showed that as the market continues to change, so do buyers’ perceptions, behaviours and expectations.


Where do home buyers get their information?

Where Canadians get information about buying a home is changing. There is a significant increase in use of real estate listing websites. In 2019, 36% of home buyers used real estate listing websites, compared to 22% last year.

As will be discussed in the following section, this information supports the data that increasing numbers of homebuyers see the value of working with a real estate agent.

And interestingly enough, in a social media centric world, it was not a factor in gathering information for buyers. According to the survey, 68% of buyers didn’t rely on social media for research.


Uncertainty changing the home buying process and attitudes

There is also a clear increase in uncertainty about the home buying process amongst Canadians.

According to the survey, 42% of 2019 buyers said they felt concerned or were uncertain about the process of buying a home, up from 37% in 2018. The main causes of concern were:

• Unforeseen housing costs;

• Living with home expenditures;

• Paying too much for a home.

In relation to the rising uncertainty that home buyers are feeling, and perhaps as a result, more Canadians are interacting with REALTORS® to guide them through the process. In 2019, 78% of home buyers interacted with a real estate professional, up from 61% in 2018.

As more home buyers are interacting with real estate agents, more Canadians are seeing value of using an agent. The percentage of home buyers who recognized the value of using an agent rose from 28% in 2018 to 35% in 2019. Surveyed Canadians indicated that they appreciated the advice they received and felt that their agents were attentive.

As discussed below, a large number of home buyers also feel stressed, anxious or frustrated about buying a home. This could explain why home buyers indicated they were so appreciative of the advice they received from REALTORS®. 


Canadians uncertain over home buying process, but consumer confidence is strong

Despite uncertainty about the process, there are still positive trends in consumer sentiment towards buying a home. Canadians overwhelmingly still feel that buying a home is a sound long-term investment, with 87% of home buyers indicating as such.  

Other signs of steady consumer confidence in Canada’s housing markets included:

• 32% of buyers are paying more than their minimum mortgage payments;

• Most buyers were consistent in their monthly budgets both before and after buying a home 

• Most home buyers (61%) set aside a “buffer” for possible higher expenses in the future.

Close to nine out 10 home buyers are happy or excited about the idea of buying a home.

Sam Carnovale is the Director of Financial Institutions at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Originally published on