June 01, 2023
Despite rising prices, Canadians still overwhelmingly desire detached suburban homes.
To be specific, Canadians want contemporary single-family homes in the suburbs with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an updated kitchen, outdoor space, and a garage.
This depiction of a dream home is courtesy of Zolo’s latest What Homebuyers Want survey, which polled 800 Canadians to determine the most sought-after features in the quest for homeownership.
While 62% of respondents prefer single-family homes — far more than those that desire condos and apartments (20%) or townhomes (10%) — Canadians’ preferences are shifting towards smaller abodes.
The aforementioned three-bedroom, two-bathroom configuration is a downsize from the four-bed, three-bath layout that was deemed the most desirable in 2022. The shrinkage is likely due to the increased affordability and manageability that comes with smaller homes, Zolo noted.
The pandemic-era exodus of city centres appears to be persisting, with 71% of respondents looking to escape to the suburbs (44%) or a rural community (27%). Just 29% of prospective buyers want to live in a city. This comes despite the decline of fully remote work.
In terms of appearance, contemporary abodes, which incorporate clean lines, minimalistic design, and modern materials, have emerged as the most coveted style of home, followed by charming yet functional bungalows, at 33%, and classic Victorians, at 26%.
Beyond property size and location, a number of other features were identified as must-haves for homebuyers, including a main floor bathroom (54%), natural light (53%), and outdoor space (50%). Meanwhile, the least important attributes included basement suites (21%), mudrooms (27%), and hot tubs (32%).
“Because [buyers] are giving up space inside with fewer bedrooms and bathrooms, having a place to soak up the sun, relax, and host gatherings is critical,” Zolo advised potential sellers.
The theme of seeking space carries through to neighbourhood amenities, with 64% of respondents identifying parks and outdoor recreation as their must-have. Shopping and dining followed, at 63%, while medical facilities rounded out the top three at 50%.
“A running theme throughout this survey is Canadians’ deep desire for finding ways to incorporate the outdoors into their living space and lives,” said Jordann Kaye, a spokesperson for Zolo.
“It makes sense given that Canadians historically value outdoor activities, a trend that was amplified during the pandemic.”
As much as Canadians know what they want in a home, they’re also steadfast in the features that will make them walk away.
When it comes to dealbreakers, a home’s condition (61%) and its location (53%) were leading areas of concern. The top factor, though, was price, as determined by 66% of respondents. The result is unsurprising given that one-third of Canadians think they’ll never be able to afford a home.
As of April 2023, the average home price in Canada sat at $716,083, while the average salary was approximately $60K.
While there were some generational differences in what constitutes the perfect property — Boomers want bungalows and Gen Z cares about the condition of a property — Canadians of all ages continue to strive for the dream of homeownership. Especially if that dream includes a single-family suburban home.
“What Canadian home buyers want is primarily shaped by the desire for single-family suburban homes, despite the price of these homes in most major cities,” Zolo said of the survey’s results.
“This is likely why home buyers are okay with less, and we’re slowly seeing the ideal house size shrinking.”
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