More than 1 in 4 Canadians plan to purchase an investment property in the next five years: Royal LePage Report
51% of current investors and 23% of non-investors are considering buying an investment property before 2028
Approximately 4.4 million Canadians currently own an investment property
26% of all Canadians say they are likely to buy an investment property within the next five years
One-third of Canadian real estate investors (32%) own two or more properties
Younger investors, those aged 18 to 34, are more likely to own more than one investment property compared to their older counterparts (aged 35+)
15% of Canadian residential investors do not own their primary residence; the majority of whom are aged 18-34
Nearly one third of investors in Canada (31%) have considered selling one or more of their investment properties due to higher lending rates
20% of investors in the Greater Montreal Area say they are likely to sell one or more of their investment properties within the next two years; this percentage rises to 24% and 28% in the greater regions of Toronto and Vancouver
According to a recent Royal LePage survey conducted by Leger, 11 per cent of Canadians – that’s approximately 4.4 million people – currently invest in residential real estate. Sixty-four per cent of residential real estate investors own one property, and 32 per cent own two or more.
Despite higher borrowing costs in today’s post-pandemic real estate environment, the aspiration to own property for the purpose of investment remains strong. Twenty-three per cent of Canadians who do not own a residential investment property say that they are likely to purchase one in the next five years, and more than half (51%) of current investors say that they are likely to purchase an additional residential investment property within the same time period. Overall, more than a quarter of all Canadians (26%), current investors or otherwise, plan to buy an investment property before 2028.
Young Canadians ‘more inclined than ever’ to invest
Although many young Canadians are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder, the youngest group of real estate investors, those aged 18 to 34, are the most likely to have more than one residential property compared to their older counterparts. Forty-four per cent of the youngest investor cohort own two or more investment properties, significantly higher than those aged 35 to 54 (29%), and those 55 or older (25%). Of particular note, 67 per cent of younger investors (18-34) own their primary residence, compared to 88 per cent and 95 per cent of investors aged 35-54 and 55 or older, respectively.
“We know that the value of home ownership is strong among Canadians – it is clear that possessing real estate remains a desirable means for building wealth over time. Many choose to invest in real estate not only as a way of generating income and reaping the benefits of value appreciation, but to provide an opening into the market for future generations of their family, ” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “Despite the hurdles of low home supply and increased lending rates, young people are more inclined than ever to make real estate investing a part of their financial planning for the future. In fact, survey results tell us that many of them are actually prioritizing an investment property over owning their primary residence.”
Location, amenities and property type still valued among investors
Across Canada, single-family detached homes are the most popular type of investment property, with 44 per cent of real estate investors owning this type of home. Condominiums are the second-most popular type of investment (37%), followed by townhomes (11%). According to the survey, Canadian real estate investors report that the opportunity for property value appreciation over the long term (69%), positive cash flow on a monthly basis (54%), and low maintenance costs or variable expenses (44%) ranked as the top three priorities when buying their residential investment properties.
Forty-four per cent of real estate investors say that their investment property is located in a different town or city than where they currently live. Access to a post-secondary educational institution is also a major factor, with 47 per cent of investors reporting that proximity to a major Canadian university or college motivated their decision to buy in a particular location.
“While much of the emotion is removed from the buying process of an investment property compared to purchasing a home for personal use, investors value many of the same characteristics, such as location, local amenities and property type,” continued Soper. “Many real estate investors extend their search into more affordable markets, and are prepared to take on the additional commitment of owning property beyond the region in which they live to cash in on the financial benefits.”
Fifteen per cent of residential investors do not own their primary residence – 12 per cent of investors rent, the majority of whom are aged 18-34, while 3 per cent live rent-free with family or friends.
“I find it interesting that a material number of investors do not own the home they themselves live in. Many of these people have likely invested in a more affordable city than the one they live in,” added Soper. “This tactic demonstrates Canadians’ deep-seated belief that real estate is a worthwhile long-term investment.”
Investor finances amid global economic uncertainty
The increased cost of borrowing has had a significant impact on variable-rate mortgage holders in Canada over the past year, and those with investment properties have also been feeling the effects. Increased lending rates have caused nearly one third of investors (31%) to consider selling one or more of their properties. Investors aged 18 to 34 are the most likely to weigh the decision of selling at least one of their investment properties (54%).
“Much higher mortgage rates and the increased cost of home maintenance and utilities have prompted some over-leveraged investors to consider selling,” said Soper. “That said, there was speculation that the investor segment would experience a serious downturn during the pandemic, as pre-construction projects were postponed and condos in downtown neighbourhoods emptied out, driving landlords to cut rental rates to keep tenants. Given widespread housing shortages across Canada, residents quickly returned to urban centres as the health scare was contained. Rents not only rebounded, they rose sharply and it became obvious that the sector’s downturn was temporary. This only underscores the importance of working with a real estate professional who can help investors make sound, long-term purchase decisions that can withstand short-term economic turbulence.
“Like any financial investment, real estate comes with its own set of potential risks. When considering including residential real estate to your investment portfolio, it’s important to lean on the advice of experts, including a financial advisor, mortgage broker and real estate agent, to ensure your investment is in line with your long-term strategy and risk tolerance,” added Soper.
Looking to the future, 44 per cent of investors say they intend to keep their investment property or properties in their current state over the next two years. During the same time period, 26 per cent of investors plan to renovate one or more of their investment properties, while 24 per cent are planning to sell one or more of their homes.
“Investors play a pivotal role in supplying much-needed housing units to renters across the country, and will continue to be an important part of the Canadian real estate ecosystem as the nation welcomes an unprecedented number of immigrants in the coming years,” said Soper.