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B.C. homebuyers craving more control throughout real estate process: survey

Homebuyers looking for flexibility in their homes to create environments that function for both work and play, according to Re/Max Canada
Home buyers are looking for flexibility in their homes to create environments that function for both work and play, according to Re/Max Canada

B.C. homebuyers are seeking more control in their real estate transactions as they face a volatile market and a period of adjustment following the height of COVID-19, according to a report by Re/Max Canada on the future of homebuying.  

This desire for control is translating into how buyers and sellers view their relationship with a real estate agent, said Re/Max Canada president Elton Ash.    

Fifty-one per cent of respondents said trust and familiarity with a real estate agent has become more important over the last 12 months, according to survey findings.  

“It's that kind of stability, gaining control, but having a Realtor or licensee truly working in your best interest, that you have confidence and trust in. That came through very clearly as well in this study,” he said.

Sixty-five per cent of millennials and 61 per cent of first-time homebuyers said having a real estate agent who is easy to get a hold of has increased in importance over the last year, according to Re/Max Canada. 

The Canada-wide study highlights how attitudes and values towards residential real estate transactions evolve within the current housing market.  

The report is meant to inform real estate agents on how these changes may influence consumers. Findings are based on consumer surveys, data analysis, expert and agent interviews.  

“What we've seen expressed, more so than we've ever seen before, is this sense or desire for stability and to gain control over one's lives. So much of it is out of our control and that message came through clearly in this particular study,” he said.

Money is seen as the biggest barrier to ownership, with down payment costs a concern for 84 percent of respondents and necessary renovations being a concern for 83 per cent.

“Real estate agents will be tasked with helping buyers see the potential in homes that offer stability. With less financial flexibility to play with, consumers are increasingly finding value in real estate agents who have a penchant for realism and can help them make their money stretch further,” the report said.

 Curating control in real estate is also contributing to homebuyers wanting greater flexibility and the ability to optimize a home for both work and play.  

“People are looking from a practical point of view as to their homebuying decision as opposed to finding sort of the perfect home for their lifestyle that we saw earlier,” Ash said.  

Having a home as a place of productivity in addition to rest is increasingly popular, with 21 per cent of Canadians now describing the home as where they spend time learning and developing. This is up from 11 per cent in 2020.  

Fewer Canadians see their home as a place that provides refuge in 2022, with 24 per cent saying that home is a safe space, compared to 41 per cent in 2020.