Boomers Are Staying Put

More and more Canadians are choosing to retire in their family home

By Matt Smith

Don’t expect older Canadians to sell up and downsize to a condo when they retire. Two recent surveys found that most intend to stay where they are throughout retirement.

According to a poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, an overwhelming 93% of homeowners aged 65 or over feel that it’s important to them that they continue to live in their homes. The poll was conducted on behalf of HomeEquity Bank, the bank that offers the CHIP Reverse Mortgage.

Another survey, conducted by Leger and Royal LePage, found that 80% of baby boomers between 54 and 72 have no intention of moving within the next five years, and 60% plan to renovate their current homes instead of buying a new house.

Rising housing prices were cited as one reason: Leger and Royal LePage report that 56% of the boomers surveyed describe their current neighbourhoods as unaffordable, and the figures are even higher in Ontario (63%) and British Columbia (78%).

Another major factor in the trend away from moving in retirement is the desire to remain independent—69% of the Canadians 65-plus surveyed by IPSOs cited this as the number one reason behind their decision to age in place. Half of those 75 or older (51%) said that their decision was influenced by a desire to remain close to their family, friends, and community.

Fewer people selling means fewer houses on the market, and a quarter (24%) of homeowners 75 or older say they’ve been approached by real estate agents about selling their homes. Among those 55 or older, 17% report being asked if they want to sell, and in Ontario, the number jumps to 27%.

The Leger and Royal LePage survey also revealed that a growing number of baby boomers are expecting their adult children to remain living with them into their 20s and 30s or to return to the family home. Given this trend and rising housing costs, it appears that “retiring in place” may well become the norm in the near future.



Photo: iStock/monkeybusinessimages.