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Seniors want to stay in their homes through retirement: poll

Lack of desire to downsize could be a problem for younger and move-up homebuyers

Having seniors and empty-nesters downsizing to smaller homes is crucial for the health of a real estate market – but it seems more and more retirees want to stay put in their family homes.

According to a new Ipsos poll, which surveyed Canadian homeowners of all ages, 93 per cent of those aged 65 or over felt it was very or somewhat important for them to stay in their current home through retirement.

The 65-plus age group were found to be much more likely than younger homeowners to feel that way, as only half of respondents aged 25-34 (55%) said it would be important for them to stay in their home through retirement. The desire to stay put through their senior years increased among the age groups, at 68 per cent among those aged 35-44, 74 per cent for 45-54-year-olds and 79 per cent among the 55-64 cohort.

This trend could affect younger and move-up homebuyers, as empty-nesters downsizing and freeing up a supply of larger homes creates an essential cycle of properties through the housing market. With fewer and fewer single-family homes being built in cities such as Metro Vancouver, the current buyer’s market for detached homes in the region could be short-lived if this continues.

Knock on the door

Ipsos found that one in four homeowners aged 75-plus have been approached by a realtor about whether they want to consider selling their home. This number drops to 17 per cent of homeowners aged 55 and over.

The report said, “Regionally, realtors appear to be most active in Ontario... Homeowners aged 55-plus in other regions are less likely to have been approached, including in British Columbia (19 per cent).”