Results of an inaugural survey of recent new home buyers across Canada were released today illuminating the nationwide trends in current home buyer preferences. Conducted and produced by Avid Ratings Canada in partnership with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), the first-of-its-kind survey reveals new data in more than 50 in-depth areas of home design, building features, buying preferences and demographics.
The detailed report contains comparisons by seven customer segments, including single/couples without children, growing family with children, downsizing family, semi-retiree/retiree seeking a mixed-age community, semi-retiree/retiree seeking an age-restricted community, investors, and second/vacation home buyers. Over 12,000 home buyers were surveyed in the nationwide market research study. The Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study is broken down into five main sections.
Following are some of the highlights from each:
• Characteristics of New Home Buyers. Nearly half of today’s home buyers (46 per cent) are comprised of Generation X with Generation Y (millennials) following closely at 38 per cent. Based on the data, in today’s market single couples with no kids is the largest cohort buying new homes. While 35 per cent of respondents would prefer a single-family detached 2-storey home for their next house, surprisingly the largest item buyers are willing to compromise on to reduce the cost of their next home is the size (22 per cent); none of the respondents would compromise on quality or energy efficiency.
• New Home Search Process. 85 per cent of Canadian home buyers begin their home buying search online, with every age group using it to begin their search. Social media is the second largest trend, with 52 per cent using it as a resource to find their next home; the younger they are, the more they actively engage with marketing on social media. That being said, every age group is relying on the virtualization of model homes and product reviews to find their next home, with 86 per cent of buyers considering virtualization of model homes as an important tool and 89 per cent using online customer reviews to make their home buying decision.
• Overall Home Design Preferences. In 2014, walk-in closets and energy-efficiency dominated the “must-have” list for new homebuyers. Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of consumers consider walk-in closets as a non-negotiable feature in their next home, with an equal number of buyers highlighting energy-efficient appliances as their most important “must-have.”
• Mid/High Rise Amenity Preferences. For mid- and high-rise buildings, 24-hour security, Wi-Fi throughout the building, and an in-building health and gym club are the largest sought after components. The national survey showed that 43 per cent consider 24-hour security as a “must-have,” and 42 per cent consider building-wide Wi-Fi at the top of their list.
• Community Amenity Preferences. Health and wellness concerns top the list of community preferences as well, with walking trails, bike paths, parks and recreation being cited as the most sought after amenities. Leading the way are walking and bike paths, with over half of buyers noting these items as their largest want for a new community (53 per cent). Parks and recreation centres follow closely with 46 per cent considering them a “must-have.” Overall, landscaping rounded out the list with 41 per cent of buyers wanting move-in ready, fully landscaped communities.
The full study and report are available for purchase through the CHBA at www.chba.ca/buyersurvey.aspx.