What city type does Gen Z gravitate towards in its homebuying preferences?

The demographic is set to be an influential cohort in Canada's housing market in the coming years

What city type does Gen Z gravitate towards in its homebuying preferences?

The Canadian cities that best align with Gen Z home buyers’ expectations tend to have populations below 300,000, according to a new study by Point2 Homes.

The demographic is drawn to the appeal of smaller cities, which they believe best meet the aspirations of their generation, Point2 said.

“Gen Z prioritizes mental health, financial stability, and work/life balance,” Point2 said in its analysis. “This means they could shift their focus from the fast-paced, high-priced big city life, bringing smaller urban gems into the limelight.”

The survey found that St. John’s, NL was the most attractive Canadian city for Gen Z.

This was followed by Quebec City, Levis, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières, all in Quebec. Point2 said that of its top 10 “Gen Z ready” cities, Quebec had the most cities (eight).

“In two decades or so, Gen Z could outnumber baby boomers, who are currently Canada’s largest cohort and also millennials, who are the fastest growing generation,” said Oana Solomon, head analyst at Point2.

“Canada’s youngest professionals, aged 18 to 26, are far from being focused on their career alone: Their passion for work/life balance, mental health, and environmental awareness will make them choose cities that are in line with these values.”

Many Gen Z-ers will need their families’ help in purchasing homes

However, this cohort’s entry into the Canadian housing market might take longer than expected: A recent survey by Zoocasa found that almost half of millennial and Gen Z Canadians will need financial assistance from family members to purchase their desired homes.

In comparison, the share is just 28% of Gen X-ers and 10% of boomers.

“Anecdotally, working in the GTA with [millennial and Gen Z] clients, the number is nearly all when it comes to who is getting help from the bank of mom and dad,” said Lauren Haw, broker of record and industry relations officer at Zoocasa.

“If not on their move-up purchases, potentially on a first purchase previously … you’re pretty hard-pressed to find millennials or anybody younger that buy their first home and sometimes even their move-up home without help.”