Survey says first-time younger buyers tend to favour older homes

Almost half of Canadians  aged 18 to 34 years old bought a first house that was at least 21 years old, according to a new TD Canada Trust survey conducted by Angus Reid Strategies. 

On the other hand, those 55-plus chose newer homes with only one-quarter of that group purchasing a property 21 years or older for their first home.

“The TD Canada Trust Generational Homeownership Survey showed that one of the most significant differences in behaviour for first-time home buyers across the generations is the age of the home they purchased,” said Chris Wisniewski, group product manager, Real Estate Secured Lending, TD Canada Trust. “This behaviour suggests today’s first-time home buyers are looking for cost-effective options, which in urban centres are often older homes.”

Possibly looking for a more affordable option, younger Canadians at 35 per cent were the most willing to take on a fixer-upper as their first home compared to 24 per cent of those now 55-plus who did the same when they were first-time home buyers.

“While older homes often sell for a more attractive price, first-time buyers need to keep in mind that the purchase price and mortgage payments are not the only costs associated with owning a home,” said Wisniewski. “An older home may need more work which means putting some money aside for repairs and renovations. 

“Getting a home inspection and asking an expert, such as a real estate agent, will help you estimate some of these additional costs before you buy,” Wisniewski added.

The location of their first home was a key factor for all Canadians, but younger first-time buyers were most likely to say that location was a top priority for 78 per cent vs. 70 per cent for those ages  35 to 54, and 64 per cent of those 55-plus. 

And younger Canadians are most likely to have selected a city or town  for their first home purchase as opposed to the suburbs or a rural location.

“Young first-time buyers in Winnipeg are looking at established neighbourhoods with affordable homes,” said WinnipegREALTORS® market analyst Peter Squire.

“While some are looking for that perfect house, many are willing to put sweat-equity into a fixer-upper in an older established neighbourhood,” he added.

When asked what type of home they purchased, younger Canadians aged 18 to 34 were more likely than other groups to purchase a condo as their first home (18 per cent vs. nine per cent of Canadians), but 65 per cent bought a house.

While there are more condominium options than ever before in Canada, first-time buyers today are still looking for traditional houses no matter the age or location of the property. Seventy-five per cent of first-time buyers across the generations purchased a house.