A Quarter of Canadians Aged 25 to 35 Bought Real Estate During the Pandemic

Canada’s young adults are fleeing the city, and the trend may be far from over. A Royal LePage survey of Canadian home buying intent of people aged 25 to 35 shows a quarter bought during the pandemic. This supports data showing young adults have been fleeing major cities, and sending rural home prices soaring. The survey also shows a lot more people plan to do the same, all facilitated by the forced adoption of work from home.

A Quarter of Canadians Aged 25 to 35 Bought A Home In The Pandemic

A quarter of Canadians between the age of 25 and 35 bought a house after the pandemic started. The survey found 25% of respondents had purchased a home after March 15, 2020, by mid-February of this year. Another 16% plan on buying in the next 12 months, and 14% between one and two years from now. The largest segment of people in this age bracket came in at 39%, who plan on buying in two to five years. The pandemic’s acceleration of adopting work from home most likely had a large role to play here.

Canadian Home Buying Intent (25 – 35)

The home buying intent of Canadians aged 25 to 35, who don’t already own a home.
Source: Royal LePage, Leder. Better Dwelling.

About a third said home buying is on their radar in the near future. Those who said it would take longer than five years, came in at 16% of respondents. Another 8% said they don’t plan to buy a home, and 8% weren’t sure what their plans were.

Working Remote A Top Priority For Young Adults 

Remote work is a top priority for almost two-thirds of people in this age range. At the national level, 63% of people said it was either very or somewhat important to be able to work from home. Toronto is overrepresented at 72% of people who feel it’s important. Vancouver was also over represented at 68%, and Montreal followed closely at 67% of people.  

How Important Is Your Employer Allowing Remote Work?

The importance of employers allowing remote work for Canadians aged 25 to 35, who are employed or looking for work.
Source: Royal LePage, Leder. Better Dwelling.

The number of respondents who didn’t have the ability (or desire) to work from home is substantially smaller. At the national level, just 19% of people in this age group said it wasn’t important or had jobs where they couldn’t. Toronto was underrepresented in this group, with just 15% having an issue with it. Vancouver was overrepresented, at 20% of people with an issue. Montreal was somewhere in the middle, with 16% of people having difficulty with the idea. 

Half of Young Canadians Don’t Want To Live In Cities

Less than half of young Canadians want to live in cities now. The national rate of people with a desire to live in a city was only 45%. Toronto residents were a little higher, with 50% saying they wanted to live in the city. Vancouver and Montreal did much better, with 63% and 55% saying they prefer city life, respectively. 

Preference of Living In The City or Countryside

Where do Canadians aged 25 to 35 prefer to live, in the city or small town/countryside.
Source: Royal LePage, Leder. Better Dwelling.

The big surprise is almost half of young adults want to live in small towns, or the countryside now. The national rate came in at 47%, a surprise considering over 80% of the country lived in cities. Toronto wasn’t far behind, with 42% of residents having preference to living away from the city.

Vancouver and Montreal both had fewer people dreaming about leaving the city. The rate of those who would prefer to live in small towns or the countryside was 26% and 36%, respectively. That seems small compared to Toronto, but it’s still almost a quarter of people not happy in the city.  

The survey data helps provide a lot of context to the current buying behavior. A lot of young Canadians decided to pull the trigger on their first home during the pandemic. We already knew this was happening, since Canada’s home price and sales boom is being led by more rural areas.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the acceleration of the work from home trend. Not surprisingly, not all millennials have been able to move during the pandemic. However, there’s apparently still a lot looking to do so in the not so distant future.

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  • Axel McLion 3 years ago

    I find it hard to believe this poll. Maybe people are living in a dream?

    Rural is not cheaper than the city, it’s actually much more expensive once you factor in the higher cost of living save worse job prospects. Literally the only reason housing might be cheaper rurally is that there is less demand relative to supply (ie. not many people want to live there); it certainly costs more, not less, to build out there.

    If you do move rurally, enjoy being isolated, driving a long distance to get anywhere, and being unable to shop online. Most small towns are desolate and depressing places, which is exactly why they’re cheap. The olden days where these small towns were thriving social hubs for the surrounding areas are long gone.

    25% of this age group bought in the last year? I can bullshit. Perhaps the poll, done by a real estate company, is biased and perhaps it’s even meant to deceive?

    • Terrance 3 years ago

      Saying rural isn’t cheaper than the city shows you have no real intention of moving to either. If you’re in Toronto you’re looking at $1.5 million for a detached.

      In the Kawarthas a similar sized home would be $700,000. That home used to only be $250,000 a few years ago, but still. It’s half the price, and 8 years of a household’s income. You could buy the Toronto home, or the Kawartha one and retired 8+ years early for the same price.

    • Jeff 3 years ago

      I beg to differ. I moved from Abbotsford, BC to Musquodoboit Harbour, NS. My mortgage went from $2,400 a month to $600. Grocery stores are further away (half an hour), which means we have to plan a little more than we used to. And, we don’t have access to Uber Eats or Skip out here… but honestly… is that a bug, or is it a feature? I’m sure it’s prevented some waistline growth.

      Some things are more expensive out here (power and income tax), but the monthly savings on our housing make up for that in spades.

      We also have a bit of land (two acres) and are now growing some of our own food, which makes the value proposition even stronger. I think if you just embrace country bumpkin life, it can work out pretty well.


    • SH 3 years ago

      You act like moving from Toronto to Kitchener (for example) is going rural. Do you have a Queens Quay condo you need to fill or something?

    • Tom Wolfe 3 years ago

      Not to mention the 407 tolls at $60 each way, on a good day it takes me 60 minutes to drive across the GTA. Same as driving from Brockville to Ottawa on the 416. On a typical bad day the cross-GTA drive can easily take 90-120 minutes, or about the same as Brockville to Montreal.

      Houses in these areas are under $500K – if you can find one. Rentals are nonexistent, there are *no vacancies. There are lots of people who seek and enjoy active-outdoor living. Just look at a beer commercial, it is an aspirational lifestyle. And now add that upwardly-mobile young people work from anywhere. Welcome to 2021.

  • MR 3 years ago

    Half of Yonge Canadians don’t want to live in Cities subheading is absolutely rubbish. Young Canadians are leaving big cities because they are priced out. History will remember Mark Joseph Carney, Stephen S. Poloz and Richard Tiffany Macklem for their terrible job performance. They could have done their job way better than kicking the can down the road. They did a pathetic job.

    • Jaimie 3 years ago

      Half of people can’t believe the other half of people have a different opinion. Saying another opinion exists is “rubbish.”

      I went to school with a lot of people that couldn’t wait to move from the city. As soon as their job went remote, so did their lifestyle. That wasn’t even cost related, because most already owned in the city. What are you sticking around for? All of the shuttered restaurants and empty storefronts along Queen Street?

  • MR 3 years ago

    Young Canadians have refused to remain house poor and showed their disapproval to kicking the can down the road policy.

  • Holton 3 years ago

    Yes that is right, why? If the biggest economic hit in decades and lockdowns didn’t drop real estate prices what will?? The government should have let real estate prices drop during the pandemic. Instead they propped it up with policies like give blanket mortgage deferrals to anyone.

    This tells everyone the government will never let real estate prices drop. Anyone with half a brain would know if they dont buy now they will never be able to a year from now.

    Government should let the price drop during the pandemic, now even the most rational and patient people are jumping in.

  • Martine Balonguna 3 years ago

    This will make Taranta house prices skyrocket. Wait…what??

  • SH 3 years ago

    I can’t wait to see how the selfish Boomers are going to sneer at this. They spent 10 years telling young people to shut up and move if they don’t like artificially high housing costs. Now, finally, Millennials are doing exactly that. But that too shall be castigated as young people giving up, or living in a fantasy, etc. The first comment here has kicked off this narrative.

  • Jimmy 3 years ago

    Hope that 25 percent of young people didn’t buy in.

    But could be true.

    Wow a whole bunch of young people just got screwed.

  • Old Greg 3 years ago

    So does anyone watch the 10 year treasury… Its up 250% in 9 months, interest rate spike just around the corner, so if this happens prices will collapse as money will become very expensive to borrow. I’m so happy I sold all my houses to greater fools, people need to learn a lesson unfortunately. Can anyone imagine what it would cost homeowners if rates when from 2.5% to lets say even 4%, this is a minor hike and it would cause chaos! Guess what people the banks would love to own your houses and rent them to you which has happened historically. Read a few books and ignore organized RE narrative, research for yourselves.

    • Jimmy 3 years ago

      Wish it was that simple.

      If your honest with yourself things have been out of wack since at least 2017 probably 2014.

      I agree with the narrative that housing should correct. But who knows how long we can build a bridge to no where or in this case build houses for no one.

      Correct me if I am wrong but 5 year mortgage was at 1.6 and is now around 2.2.

      So it is more like 1.6% to 4%.

      I also see that the 5 year government bond yield is down below 1% again…..Is the Bank of Canada intervening to keep the 5 year suppressed already….

    • The Truth Shall Set You Free 3 years ago

      Nobody cares. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. There have been so many warnings and as the problem is ‘too big to let fail’ up until now they believe the government will continue to coddle them and not let real estate fail. How many people are in for a rude awakening when the realize they have to find a lawyer to declare personal bankruptcy.

  • Average Man 3 years ago

    I hate to be selfish here, but as a young (ish) person who’s from “the city,” for whom it is my hometown with my friends and my family and the only place where I feel like I make any sense (I’ve tried other places) and the place where I want to raise my kids… good.

    Please keep moving to Muskoka, everybody.

  • The Truth Shall Set You Free 3 years ago

    So people with almost no real life experience bought up a big portion of real estate at inflated numbers when everyone can see that inflation is about to melt up meaning borrowing rates are going to skyrocket. Yeah this won’t end well.

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