Ontario’s first-time buyers prefer detached homes and townhouses over condos

And they want them in downtown locations, a new survey finds

Ontario’s first-time buyers prefer detached homes and townhouses over condos
Duffie Osental

Condo developers in Ontario looking to sell units to millennials and first-time home buyers could be barking up the wrong tree, according to a new survey from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

The survey, conducted by market research firm Ipsos for the OREA, revealed that millennial and first-time home buyers in Ontario are largely looking for detached and semi-detached primary homes – and not condos.

The survey found that, among the 19% of all Ontario residents looking to buy a home within the next year, the vast majority (84%) are looking for detached, semi-detached, or town homes. This is particularly true with millennials (83%) and first-time home buyers (83%) – in fact, 51% of first-time buyers say they are looking for a detached home, while 22% say they are looking for a townhouse. 

Read more: Down payments are still the main challenge for first-time buyers

And when it comes to location, millennials are more likely than boomers to be looking at downtown or urban cores (31%) or suburban areas (35%), with an emphasis placed on affordability, safe and quality neighbourhoods, and distance from work.

By contrast, most boomer buyers in the province (58%) are looking for a property either in a small town or rural area, and their focus is on finding a home that is affordable, close to amenities, walkable, and senior-friendly. They are also more likely to buy a low-rise condo than any other generation, with 10% of boomers saying they’re hunting for something under five storeys, versus 6% of buyers province-wide.

“We know that in Ontario, there is simply not enough supply to meet demand, which often leads to multiple offers and higher home sale prices,” said Sean Morrison, president of OREA. “In order to keep the dream of home ownership alive for future generations, we need to make it easier for young families and first-time buyers to own a home. Ontario needs to address the missing middle of housing supply by exploring innovative solutions like laneway housing and multi-unit homes, such as townhouses, stacked flats or mid-rise buildings, especially in downtown and urban areas.”