As a seasoned real estate agent with years of experience in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I've been closely monitoring a fascinating trend that's been reshaping the local real estate landscape. The Baby Boomer generation, a group that has traditionally played a significant role in property transactions, is making a unique mark on the market. Contrary to conventional expectations, many Baby Boomers are opting to stay put in their family homes rather than downsizing or moving into retirement communities. Today, I want to shed light on this phenomenon and its implications for both buyers and sellers.
Canada, like many other countries, is facing a real estate market characterized by tight supply and soaring housing prices. Halifax, Nova Scotia, is no exception to this trend. However, a new dynamic has emerged, with Baby Boomers at the center of it. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation holds a substantial share of Canadian real estate, and they are choosing to age in place.
One of the key drivers of this trend is the fact that Boomers are healthier and more active in their senior years compared to previous generations. Many of them are still working and are not yet ready to make the transition to retirement communities or nursing homes. This decision to remain in their homes is rooted in a desire for independence and control over their living situation.
The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this trend in Canada. Boomers witnessed the challenges and tragedies that unfolded in long-term care and retirement facilities during the pandemic. The isolation and restrictions imposed on residents in these facilities have made Boomers wary of such environments for their own future. A 2020 Royal Society of Canada report highlighted the dire state of long-term care in Canada during the early waves of the pandemic, with a much higher proportion of COVID-19 deaths occurring in nursing homes compared to other countries.
To avoid similar situations, Boomers are opting to renovate their homes or hire private help to ensure they can continue living in the communities they love for as long as possible. With the equity they have accrued in their properties, many are financially equipped to make these adjustments.
However, this aging-in-place trend is creating a supply bottleneck in the real estate market, particularly for first-time buyers and young families. Millennials are starting to form families and are struggling to find suitable housing due to the limited inventory caused by Boomers' decisions to stay in their homes.
A study by our company, Royal LePage found that a majority of Boomer homeowners prefer renovating their current properties over moving. Furthermore, 75% of Boomers own their homes, and 17 percent own more than one property, further reducing the available housing stock.
Halifax, like other Canadian cities, is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of available properties for sale. This tight market has driven up prices and increased competition among buyers.
Another contributing factor to Boomers staying in their homes is the rise in reverse mortgages. Canadians aged 55 and over can tap into their home equity while continuing to reside in their homes. HomeEquity Bank, a leading provider of reverse mortgage products in Canada, recently reported that homeowners in the country now hold over $5 billion worth of reverse mortgages, the highest amount ever recorded.
In conclusion, the decision by Baby Boomers to age in place is reshaping the real estate landscape in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and across Canada. While this choice offers Boomers a sense of independence and security, it also poses challenges for younger generations looking to enter the housing market.
As a top real estate agent, I remain committed to helping clients navigate these evolving market dynamics and find the best solutions for their unique real estate needs.