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Majority of urban Canadians want to 'age in place': report

Last Updated Mar 4, 2020 at 8:07 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

It seems many want to stay in their longtime homes as they age, despite all the equity built up in local real estate

86 per cent of urban Canadians have a very strong desire to stay in their current home as long as possible, report finds

According to Sotheby's, a large number of homeowners bought their property with an eye to aging in place

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –┬áIt is a question facing more of us as the population gets older — is it better to downsize your home or age in place?

Despite all the equity built up in Metro Vancouver real estate, a report from Sotheby’s finds a majority of baby boomers want to stay put.

“One of the biggest surprises we found is that there is a very strong desire from urban Canadians to age in place,” says Don Kottick, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

“We found that 86 per cent of baby boomers in the key metropolitan areas really want to stay in their current home as long as possible, and a further 88 per cent want to stay in the same neighbourhood,” he tells NEWS 1130. “It really isn’t about shifting to a different location. People want to stay in their home as long as possible where they are comfortable.”

And the report suggests a significant number of aging homeowners are looking to remain in the market.

“One of the things we found was that 36 per cent of the baby boomers who are likely to sell are looking to move to a new primary residence in their lifetime. That means they are still actively engaged in the market and they are going to impact the market. That’s a fairly large number,” Kottick adds.

However, Sotheby’s also finds comfort and sentimentality are not the only factors in the decision to “age in place.”

“You need a destination,” says Kottick. “Maybe this is part of the reason why so many baby boomers and the older adults are looking to stay — there aren’t a lot of alternatives. The inventories are still very low, supply is still an issue and this is probably why we have so many people looking to stay in their homes.”

He adds that a large number of owners bought their current homes with an eye to aging in place.

“Let’s face it, we have had supply issues for quite some time and that has had a hand in the selection of properties.”

The report suggests safety, transit friendliness and proximity to a grocery store are the leading priorities for ensuring an age-friendly neighbourhood.

Priority home features to accommodate aging in place included having a full bathroom on the main level, single-level housing and having a main-level bedroom or room that can be used as a bedroom.

For condominium owners, having an elevator, indoor fitness and wellness amenities and security service were the leading priorities when planning for their needs.

-With files from Richard Dettman