Pandemic Impact on Real Estate Index

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Canadian housing sales have recovered. Image DepositPhoto.com
Image DepositPhoto.com

MONTREAL – BUSINESS – The RE/MAX Real Estate Index is the result of a large regional semiannual survey on Québec residents’ plans to buy or sell their homes and other related topics. This third phase provides interesting insights on residents’ changing intentions since the pandemic began. When asked where their ideal future home would be, one in three Québec residents chose the country, a dramatic jump from spring 2020, when one in five residents said as such.

More specifically, the survey shows that 38% of future home buyers preferred the suburbs. The country came in second (33%) and the city third (25%). That is a 12% increase for the country and an 8% drop for the suburbs. Preference for the city was up slightly, by 3%.

For Marc Cousineau, Vice President of Marketing at RE/MAX Quebec, this data confirms a trend that had emerged in the previous Index last fall: “Clearly, the country stands out for a growing share of future real estate buyers, especially older ones. Nearly 50% of respondents aged 45 and over said they want to buy their next home in the country. Contrary to commonly held belief since the beginning of the pandemic, this increase is not at the expense of the city, whose popularity increased slightly in the past year.”

The events of the last year do not seem to have had an impact on the confidence of future home buyers and sellers: 47% of respondents said they planned to buy within five years, up 7% over last year, while 41% of respondents planned to sell, up very slightly by 4%. The pandemic did have an impact on the timelines of 35% of respondents, with 29% deciding to postpone buying a home, while 6% decided to buy earlier.

The survey indicates that 94% of future sellers are confident they will get the asking price, which is not a huge surprise given the current market.

What are they buying?
Among respondents who indicated they were planning to buy a property within five years, half (50%) intended to buy a single-family home, followed by a condo (17%), a cottage (10%) and an apartment building (9%).

Some regional disparities
In this kind of survey, it is interesting to see regional differences with certain criteria.

  • The Montréal area had the highest percentage of respondents who planned to buy within five years (45%), while Montérégie had the lowest (30%).
  • Montréal also had the highest percentage of respondents who were looking to sell within five years (43%), while Trois-Rivières/Drummondville had the lowest (30%).
  • Trois-Rivières/Drummondville had the highest percentage of respondents (29%) who want to buy their next home in the city, while the Laurentians had the lowest (5%).
  • The highest percentage of respondents looking to buy their next home in the suburbs are in Trois-Rivières/Drummondville (40%), while the lowest percentage is in the Laurentians (13%).
  • Respondents in the Laurentians had the highest preference for buying their next home in the country (81%), while those in Trois-Rivières/Drummondville had the lowest (29%).
  • Montréal and Gatineau were the two regions where respondents expressed the greatest interest in leaving big cities to move to the suburbs or the country (23% each).
  • Respondents in the Greater Montréal Area said their ideal future home would be in the suburbs (38%), followed by the country (31%) and the city (26%).

Favourable opinions of brokers
For the first time, the RE/MAX Real Estate Index surveyed future home buyers and sellers on their opinions of real estate brokers. From among a series of statements presented to respondents:

  • 87% agreed that selling through a broker ensures every part of the process meets regulatory requirements.
  • 87% said that the informed advice of a broker is helpful when buying or selling.
  • 83% would be tempted to sell through a broker for peace of mind.
  • 81% said that dealing with a broker reassures them and gives them a sense of protection should any problem arises.

The next RE/MAX Real Estate Index will be conducted in the fall.