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Downsizing out? Vast majority of older homeowners want to stay in their home

Only 14 per cent of Canadian baby boomers actively want to move, and more than half of those would choose a condo, finds survey

Downsizing – often referred to these days as “rightsizing” – may be considered a trend among older Canadian homeowners, but perhaps not if you actually ask them.

A new survey found that 86 per cent of older, urban, adult homeowners said they would like to live in their current family home as long as possible.

The Aging in Place report, from polling firm Mustel Group and real estate brokerage Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, also found that this dream is not realistic for everybody. More than one third (36 per cent) of respondents said they are likely to sell their current home and move to a new residence within their lifetime.

Of those respondents planning to sell their home, 76 per cent expect they will reinvest in the real estate market by buying a replacement primary residence. More than half (54 per cent) of those with plans to move to a new primary home expect to choose a condo.

With so many homeowners hoping to stay in their homes as they age, the survey also asked them about their needs for aging in place.

It found that less than half of respondents (46 per cent) said they had considered their needs in terms of aging in place, when buying their current primary home. Of those who had, the report said, “45 per cent considered safety as a key priority in their chosen neighbourhood, while features supporting single-level living factored the most heavily in their home selection. Condominium owners most commonly prioritized having an elevator, indoor fitness and wellness amenities and security services.”

Don Kottick, president and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said, “Our research reinforces the fact that this generation will continue be a dominating influence in our country’s key markets, and that government, the real estate industry and individual homeowners will need to contend with increasing pressure to make homes, neighbourhoods and cities age-friendly for current and future generations of older people.”

The Aging in Place report is the first in a multi-part series focused on baby boomers and older adults, and is based a survey of 1,764 homeowners ages 54 years and above in Metro Vancouver, Greater Calgary, Greater Toronto and Greater Montreal.

Josh O’Neill, general manager of Mustel Group, said, “This is one of the first studies in Canada to focus on the housing aspirations, expectations and realities of the baby boomer generation, as well as those who are older, with findings based on homeowners already invested in the housing market. Results from the survey reflect the latest trends within one of the country’s most influential demographic cohorts.”