What type of homes are Canadians currently buying?

RE/MAX exec on the listing types proving most popular at present

What type of homes are Canadians currently buying?

Given new market realities, modern home buyers are now focusing more on value-added properties and communities, according to Elton Ash, executive vice president of RE/MAX Canada.

The flight to affordability observed in Canada’s largest urban market during the first half of the year has pushed the share of detached home sales up to 44.7% in the Greater Toronto Area and up to 29.3% in Greater Vancouver.

At the same time, the fundamental strength of these red-hot markets means that buyers who took advantage of lower prices will benefit from even higher home values in the long term, Ash said.

“Listings that offer a short or long-term benefit – be it a basement apartment that allows homeowners to offset their mortgage costs now or homes that hold long-term potential in a future renovation or sale to a builder – are most sought-after,” Ash said.

“Location, while still an important aspect, has been replaced by value and necessity. A growing number of buyers are willing to travel further afield to get the best bang for their buck.”

Non-downtown sub-markets in Toronto reporting surges

RE/MAX reported that Toronto’s York Region saw a marked boost in detached home sales during the second quarter, with a 104% increase from Q1 levels (2,328 sales compared to 1,143 sales).

“Affordability was a major factor given detached properties in the 905 area code are priced significantly less than similar homes located in the 416 area code,” RE/MAX said.

Stark differences in local housing policies played a central role in this dynamic.

“Buyers in the 905 are also not subjected to the municipal land transfer tax of two per cent to 2.5% implemented by the City of Toronto,” RE/MAX reported. “As such, the region continues to experience solid demand, as evidenced by the uptick of nearly 18% in overall housing sales in June (compared to year ago levels for the same period).”