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According to a new survey conducted for the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), age and experience account for the biggest differences when it comes to consumers’ confidence when buying and selling real estate in Ontario. The survey found that younger people and first-time homebuyers have more concerns, especially about the financial aspects of real estate.

The 800 Ontarians who were surveyed were chosen because they indicated they have bought or sold in the past two years or are considering buying or selling real estate within the next two years.

Age differences: The survey shows that the major concerns of Ontarians vary significantly among different age groups. The survey revealed that 70 per cent of young people (ages 18-34) are anxious about not being properly informed about the buying or selling process. Other top concerns are centered on affordability:

  • 84 per cent worry that they won’t be able to afford the home they would like to buy.
  • 76 per cent report they are concerned about affording possible costs of home repairs and renovations.
  • 60 per cent weren’t sure if they could afford monthly mortgage payments on the home they buy.
  • 68 per cent are concerned about being outbid by others.

Ontarians aged 35-54, many of whom have already bought and sold their first homes, have fewer concerns than younger respondents. Their biggest concerns are very different from the other groups:

  • They are the most concerned with how long their home will sit on the market when they go to sell (57 per cent).
  • 42 per cent are concerned about whether to buy their new home before selling their current home.
  • This age group is the less concerned (52 per cent) that the real estate bubble will burst than younger people.

Overall, survey respondents aged 55 and older were the most confident in their knowledge of the home buying process (95 per cent) and have the fewest concerns compared to the other age categories:

  • They are the least concerned about making poor financial decisions because they were not well informed (33 per cent) and being able to afford mortgage payments (15 per cent).
  • However, almost seven in ten boomers and seniors are concerned about getting the most value from their current home, while almost half (48 per cent) worry about the real estate bubble bursting.

Geographic differences: The survey also revealed that top concerns varied across regions:

  • Respondents in the GTA are the most concerned that the real estate bubble will burst (64 per cent).
  • The survey shows that residents in southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario are the least concerned about being able to afford monthly mortgage payments (35 per cent and 33 per cent respectively).
  • Eastern Ontario respondents are more concerned with how long their current home will sit on the market (62 per cent).
  • Respondents from northern Ontario are the most concerned of all regions about the rise in closing costs (92 per cent)

Changes in the real estate market: Whether it’s a first-time buyer or someone more experienced with the process, Ontarians agree that the real estate market has changed in the last five years.

  • More than half (56 per cent) of Ontarians think that the process of buying and selling a home has gotten more complicated over the last five years, while 70 per cent think the financial risks have increased.
  • 90 per cent state that technologies like online searches, documents and payments have changed the real estate market.

“The needs of consumers evolve as they enter different phases of life and therefore their concerns about buying and selling change too,” says Kelvin Kucey, Deputy Registrar, Regulatory Compliance, RECO. “Consumers should take the time to get informed about the process of buying and selling a home and know that a registered real estate professional is a valuable partner when trying to navigate the real estate market.”

RECO regulates the real estate profession in Ontario. Its mission is excellence in the delivery of regulatory services that protect the public interest and enhance consumer confidence in the real estate profession. For more information, visit www.reco.on.ca.