Boomers Housing Trends

Waterstone development, located in the Fraser Valley, is seeing a majority of buyers downsize from larger residences.

Boomers are looking to downsize from single-family to multi-family homes

The inability to afford single-family detached homes in the Fraser Valley is not simply a problem for young families struggling to get started, but is also increasingly becoming a concern for the region’s Baby Boomer population.

A survey released today by Colliers International found that many Boomers are looking to downgrade to a smaller, multi-family home—even though their preference for detached homes is still strong. Surveying those aged 49-67 currently living in the Fraser Valley, the poll found that while 46.2 per cent prefer single-family-style homes, 53.8 per cent said that they would likely be purchasing a multi-family home upon leaving their current location.

And while the proximity to amenities and increased sense of community that multi-family units offer was taken into account, an overwhelming majority (73.8 per cent) said that price would be the single-greatest influencer when buying a new home—pushing them out of the single-family market, and towards more affordable multi-family housing.

Scott Brown, senior vice-president of residential and commercial marketing for Colliers International, sees this trend as motivated in part by the Boomers’ desire to give their children a leg up now, rather than later: “because they’re going to live longer [than their parents], they’re thinking more about helping their children buy property now…. When we were younger grandparents that lived 65 to 70 years old were considered to be old, but I would say that 60 is the new 50… so I would argue that [Boomers] aren’t thinking about inheritance as much as they are trying to figure out if they can help now.”