“[Baby boomers] are looking for higher-end, more quality condos … and the demand is exceeding our supply,” says Michael Dubienski, a Winnipeg-based real estate agent who focuses on buyers looking to downsize into a condo. “We have a lot of mid-range condos but [inventory] for high-end condos is lean.”
Dubienski says he recently sold a 24-unit condo full of high-end suites before the building’s developers even broke ground. Every single buyer was born between 1944 and 1954.
But developers who are interested in these types of luxury high-rise projects are few and far between.
“I believe that what went wrong is that builders and investors didn’t do a proper analysis of the market,” he tells REP. “They’re going after first-time homebuyers and not the surge of people who are moving out of their big homes and are looking for something nice and not just adequate.”
Those empty nesters are selling their old family homes for upwards of $600,000 and are looking for the same amenities and the same community feel but in an easier to maintain condo. Many of the new condo dwellers are snowbirds, only occupying their Canadian home for the spring, summer and fall months.
“People are transferring the equity from their homes into their condos and their new lifestyles, and they’re taking the same dollars and trying to replace it and they’re not able to get it,” Dubienski says. “They’re more attracted to the culture, they’re downsizing to one car, they don’t want the lawn. They don’t want to live near the things that would have been attractive to them 30 years ago.”
Agents in Toronto and Vancouver might not relate to this, but industry players in comparatively smaller metropolitan markets say downsizing baby boomers looking for a smaller space with the same luxuries they’re used to have been left wanting.