Newcomers to Canada have contributed significantly to housing demand, representing 21% of homebuyers in the country, according to a survey commissioned by Royal LePage.
If international migration remains at its current level, Royal LePage expects Canadian newcomers to buy 680,000 homes over the next five years. In 2018, international migration accounted for 80.5% of Canada’s population growth, according to Statistics Canada.
"In addition to supporting Canada's economic growth, newcomers to Canada are vital to the health of our national real estate market," said Phil Soper, Royal LePage’s president and CEO. "The combined demand for affordable housing among younger Canadians and new Canadians can be met through housing policies that encourage smart and sustainable development, with a focus on protecting and developing green spaces in our urban centres. Canada's economy and labour markets are expanding, and it is crucial that housing supply keeps pace."
For this survey, Royal LePage defined newcomers as those who have moved to Canada within the last 10 years. Respondents include immigrants, students, refugees and those who are in the country to work. Nationally, the average time that respondents spent in the country was four years.
Newcomers were likely to be families with children (31%), students (25%), or sole applicants (20%). Among the respondents, 86% saw real estate as a good investment, while 75% arrived with savings to help buy a property. The survey showed that the time duration before newcomers bought a home was three years after arriving in Canada.
Despite their desire to buy a home, newcomers’ homeownership rate is only 32%, well below the overall homeownership rate for all Canadians (68%). Among newcomers, 51% buy a detached home, 18% buy a condo, 15% buy a townhouse, and 13% buy a semi-detached home.
Nationally, 82% of respondents remained in the region of their first residence. Those who relocated to a new region cited a better job as the most popular reason for moving (41%), followed by lifestyle (13%), and housing affordability (12%).