More Than Half of Canadians Believe Foreign Buyers Are Driving Up Home Prices and Support a Foreign Buyer Tax, as Most Canadians Cite Affordability a Primary Obstacle to Home Ownership

TORONTO, April 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Canadian real estate website today released findings from its inaugural Housing Sentiments and Trends Report. The report covers Canadian perceptions on foreign buyer tax, thoughts on housing affordability and home ownership as a life milestone, confidence in the housing market, and factors influencing home buying decisions such as commute times and nearby amenities.

“Recent market fluctuations and policy changes aimed at controlling participation and entry into these markets have caused consumer and media interest to reach a fever pitch,” says Lauren Haw, CEO of Zoocasa. “This report is a look inside the heads and homes of Canadians, and should be a companion piece for those seeking a more in-depth understanding of our housing market and how it affects Canadians. The sentiments of Canadians become increasingly relevant in Ontario as we await added measures from the Government.”

Affordability is the most noted obstacle to homeownership identified by respondents, with over half (54%) of aspiring buyers citing “rising real estate prices” as the primary obstacle for purchasing a property. Surprisingly, respondents in higher household income brackets –$100,000 to $149,000 – were most likely to be concerned about rising prices. The ability to earn income from a property was twice as important to aspiring buyers (23%) compared to those who bought in the past (12%).

Canadian fervor over foreign home buyers holds true across the country. According to the report, 61% of Canadians feel foreign buyers are driving up home prices in their city and 69% of Canadians support a foreign buyer tax. In Canada’s hottest markets, 74% of those in British Columbia believe foreign buyers are driving prices and 75% support the tax, which was implemented in Metro Vancouver in August; in Ontario, 66% feel foreign buyers are driving up prices and 70% support a tax. In regions where fewer Canadians believe foreign buyers are affecting prices in their province, there is still a high level of support for taxation.

Increasing buyer competition, affordability challenges, and heavy commentary and warnings of market ‘bubble’ conditions have Canadians feeling split on their outlook of the housing market: only 34% feel confident in Canada’s real estate market, 29% are not confident, and 37% are not sure.


Are Canadians willing to make sacrifices for affordability?

Most Canadians said they would only add up to 30 minutes to their total daily commute for more affordable homes, but over 20% would delay life milestones, like having children, to purchase a property. Commuting time ranked higher in importance for aspiring owners (72%) than current homeowners (64%). For aspiring buyers, the proximity to roads/highways and public transportation was equal in importance (55%), higher than their desire to live near schools or school districts (39% vs. 44% for current owners).

Though affordability is a challenge, Canadians remain unwilling to purchase a stigmatized property to assist with cost: 6% would consider a home where a recent murder occurred, 7% where illegal drugs were produced, and just 15% would consider a home in a less desirable neighbourhood.

Who are Canadian real estate investors?

After Vancouver’s decision in 2016 to implement a 15% tax, and as speculation continues around who is investing in Canada’s real estate market, Zoocasa found the majority of investor respondents (67%) own just a single investment property (in addition to their primary residence). One-fifth own two homes for investment purposes, and just 13% reported owning three or more properties. The majority of respondents who are investment property owners are married (69%) and/or have a household income of over $100,000 (59%).

Homeownership remains an important life milestone:

Despite price challenges and a lack of confidence in the market, 83% of respondents said owning a home is an important life achievement, and over 66% feel people should own a property before age 35, with one-third saying the 31 to 35 age range is the prime time to buy.

While Canadians continue to prioritize home ownership, their savings may be off the mark. Of those respondents who are renters, 43% of respondents have under $5,000 saved for a down payment, and most (63%) are only saving $500 or less each month.

Housing hunting can be stressful:

Canadians agree that buying a home is a stressful process – but how does it stack up against other significant life decisions? Forty-eight per cent of Canadians agree that buying a home is more stressful than getting married, and 66% say that buying a home is more stressful than asking your boss for a raise.

Working with a real estate agent is one way to help mitigate home hunting stress. Eighty per cent of homeowners used a real estate agent in the home buying process, and 69% are repeat clients or were referred to a realtor from a family member or friend.

Zoocasa conducted an online survey of more than 1,100 Canadians from February to March 2017.

About Zoocasa
Zoocasa Realty Inc. is a Canadian real estate brokerage with a comprehensive search portal that ensures seamless service from first click to closing day. Zoocasa is the first online real estate company in Canada to focus on pairing technology with a full-service team. By combining a full-service real estate brokerage with sophisticated online tools and a home listings database, Zoocasa empowers Canadians to buy or sell their home faster, easier and more successfully.

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