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Interest in Buying A Home Nearly Doubles Among Ontario Renters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Interest in Buying A Home Nearly Doubles Among Ontario Renters Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

New research shows the pandemic is influencing renter, buyer intentions; including where they may move next

TORONTO, ON – Ontario renters who are active in the real estate market are nearly twice as likely to express interest in buying a home due to the pandemic, according to the latest research conducted by Nanos Research for the Ontario Real Estate Association’s monthly Pulse Check on Consumer Attitudes.

Due to the effects of COVID-19, 25% of Ontario renters who are active in the real estate market say they are more interested in buying a home now, compared to just 13% who say they are less interested. 54% report they are just as interested now, as they were pre-pandemic.

Renters are also more likely to report they are actively looking to buy a home right now (63%) than homeowners (47%), with Millennials aged 18-34 (62%) and those 35-54 (59%) more actively looking than older Ontarians.

“Despite the uncertainty stemming from the pandemic, housing remains a strong sector of our province’s economy, with the Canadian Dream of home ownership continuing to be a strong value for many Ontarians,” said OREA President Sean Morrison. “As we look ahead and move towards economic recovery in a post-COVID era, we can expect even more interest as renters and first-time home buyers look to enter the market.”

Those surveyed in this month’s Pulse Check also reported a shift in attitudes towards rural and suburban living. As a result of the physical distancing and isolation that Ontarians have been experiencing over the past months, close to three in five active in the real estate market say that living in a rural area is more appealing to them now than before the pandemic, while just over three in five say the same about living in the suburbs.

“It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the desire to own a home, and that Ontarians want more affordable homes and more choices in the housing market,” said Morrison. “By looking towards both short and long term housing friendly initiatives such as a land transfer tax holiday or building transit-oriented communities, we can help bring the dream of home ownership to first-time buyers right to where they want to live, whether it is downtown, in the suburbs, or in the rural areas.”

On average, Ontarians active in the real estate market believe it will be a good time to buy a home in about 9 months or list a home for sale in 9.5 months. This shows that many buyers and sellers are staying on the sidelines despite interest in the market, due to economic uncertainty.

When REALTORS® take proper safety precautions, over eight in ten Ontarians active in the real estate market say they would be comfortable or somewhat comfortable attending an in-person private showing; with 66% saying they would be comfortable or somewhat comfortable attending an open house with other buyers present.

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According to respondents, the best things a Realtor® could do is frequently cleaning and disinfecting the property first (19%), followed closely by limiting the number of visitors per showing (17%), wearing/providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks an gloves (17%), spacing out showings (14%), offering virtual tools, such as video tours and photographs (13%), and using digital documents (digital brochures, listing sheets, etc.)(eight per cent).

These safety precautions are laid out in OREA’s Guidance on Reopening in Stage Three.

About the survey

An online survey of Ontario residents aged 18+ who are active in the real estate market was conducted between June 26 – 30, 2020 through Nanos Research. Opinions were gathered from 1,005 Ontario residents. The total number of participants was weighted by age and gender according to Statistics Canada census data. The sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

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