Nearly half of B.C. baby boomers plan to downsize, and 42 per cent would consider buying a condominium for their next home.
Those are among the highlights of a Royal LePage survey of Canadians born between 1946 and 1964, released Wednesday. The real estate company’s survey found 17 per cent of boomers across the country plan to buy a new home in the next five years.
Michael Trites, a managing broker at Royal LePage Northstar Realty and a boomer himself, said that in B.C. strata units are coming into vogue among older buyers.
And from his experience and those of some of his friends and neighbours, there’s every bit as much boomer interest in townhouses as there is in condos.
“One of the main concerns is where do people go when their house gets too big. They just don’t need the space and they don’t need the bills, so then it leads to something smaller and more suitable,” he said.
“I’ve had many clients that have said you don’t really want to go from, say, a 2,400-square-foot house to a 1,200-square-foot condo. That’s a complete lifestyle change.”
Going from that same house to a 2,000-square-foot townhouse with its own front door and neighbours who tend to keep an eye on things in the area is a much easier transition, Trites said. “There’s a lot of similarities.”
But while there may be interest among boomers, there’s not a lot of product to fit that demand, he said.
“We’ve got a problem (where) there’s townhouse developments going in, but not a lot of them are orientated towards seniors. A lot of them are orientated towards the starter home — the affordability factor.”
For example, down-sizers tend not to want stairs in their homes and they often want side-by-side garages. But that is not what is tending to be built, he said.
About 70 per cent of respondent boomers in B.C. own their home, and of those homeowners, 26 per cent have more than half of their retirement savings tied to real estate, according to the survey. That is higher than any other province, the survey found.
Just 19 per cent of B.C. boomers consider their region’s housing market to be affordable, and 37 per cent of them would be willing to move to a more affordable location, the survey suggested.
“I think what’s wrapped into that is people can say I don’t want my 60-year-old house anymore, I want something bright and shiny and new. But I may have to go to Chilliwack or points east to find it,” Trites said.
Among respondents across the country who have children living at home, 44 per cent expect them to move out between the ages of 21 and 25. Just nine per cent expect them to leave after the age of 35. But in B.C., a whopping 24 per cent of respondents expect their kids won’t have moved out by 35.
The survey included 1,000 Canadian boomers between the ages of 54 and 72. It was conducted between July 12 and 17, and the margin of error is plus or minus three per cent.