More Canadians putting home buying plans on hold: Scotiabank

Amid record-high prices, a growing number of Canadians are putting plans to buy a home on hold, according to a new poll from Scotiabank.

“It's no surprise that a perfect storm made up of the rising cost of living, housing supply shortages, and increased demand has caused Canadians to feel like homeownership is out of reach,” John Webster, Scotiabank’s head of real estate and secured lending, said in a news release.

Published on Monday, the 2022 Scotiabank Housing Poll says 43 per cent of Canadians are now putting plans to buy a home on hold, compared with 33 per cent in 2021, and 20 per cent in 2020.

“Twice as many Canadians are putting their plans to purchase a home on hold in today's economic environment, when compared to the first year of the pandemic and the height of uncertainty in 2020,” Scotiabank said.

Younger Canadians seem to be feeling even worse about the housing market. According to the survey, 56 per cent of respondents ages 18 to 34 said the current economic environment had led them to halt plans to purchase a home, while 62 per cent said they were waiting for prices to fall before buying.

There are no indications prices will drop any time soon. The latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association shows the average home price in Canada soared by more than 20 per cent since last year to reach a record-breaking $816,720 in February 2022. In the same month, Canada’s rate of inflation climbed to 5.7 per cent, a 30-year high. Real estate firm Royal LePage expects aggregate home prices to rise by 10.5 per cent over 2022 to $859,700 by the end of the year.

“Concerns over costs of living, rising interest rates, market instability, and economic uncertainty has most millennials feeling discouraged about their homeownership aspirations,” Scotiabank said.

The poll also found an increasing number of Canadians appear willing to move further away from major cities to get more value for their money, with 35 per cent of respondents in 2022 reporting they are considering it, versus 29 per cent in 2021. Those numbers rise to 49 per cent for younger Canadians, and 39 per cent for Ontario residents.

For those who are staying put where they live, 59 per cent of survey respondents said they’d choose to renovate their property over buying a new home, up from 56 per cent in 2020.

The poll was conducted by Maru Public Opinion on behalf of Scotiabank between Feb. 15 and 17, 2022. It included 3,027 Canadian adults, whose responses were weighted by education, age, gender and region to match current census data. The results have an estimated margin of error of ± 1.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

With files from The Canadian Press