The largest generation in history is about to change the economic game. Their desire for space and character over proximity makes for an interesting future for smaller communities like the BoQ.
EVERY SPRING I like to take a look at the housing numbers associated with buyers and what they are seeking so that I can gain a better understanding of how to help homeowners improve their home’s exterior. I’ve always known that even if you’re not planning on selling today, making smart upgrades to your yards can have long term dividends when it comes to home valuation. What I couldn’t predict was the colossal impact this new generation of buyers will have on these outdoor spaces and how they will be used.
The numbers continue to roll in about the size of the millennial population, and many online sources put this group at up to 25 percent of the population of Canada. Much later than prior generations, the average millennial is starting to buy at age thirty. This trend is in part due to high real estate costs and even higher student-loan debt (National Association of Realtors).
Millennials are expected to account for up to 35 percent of home sales in 2017 as over 90 percent of this group considers owning a home immediate priority. (CNBC).
Although I’m not a millennial, I did exactly what all experts are predicting this younger group is going to do over the next five years. We sold our cottage and bought a farm! I use that term very loosely as it doesn’t have a barn – that project will happen one day. What is does have is 6.5 acres of opportunity.
Officially the farm is quickly replacing the cottage as the second home for many Canadians. My cottage was a great property, but I couldn’t really afford to have the open space I really wanted and still have some distance from my neighbours. So we made the leap and sold it, choosing instead to buy in the Bay of Quinte area. We gave up the crowded lakes and long commutes for fields full of grapes, corn, and wheat, and I couldn’t be happier. I am not alone in this migration to one of Ontario’s hidden gems; the Bay of Quinte region has a growing youth population because of an affordable housing market and high quality of life.
So what do millennials want in a home? Surprisingly, location has dropped as a priority, according to Century21 Canada. Instead, millennials continue to choose more space over proximity to work. Millennials want yards on a budget. A quick look on Quinte-MLS.com, the real estate site for communities surrounding the bay, shows almost fifty homes with over one hundred acres of land listed in spring 2017.
Ideal homes for millennials have great character as you’ll find in some of the long-standing neighbourhoods here. They are drawn to good curb appeal, with houses that have front yards setting the apart in suburban neighbourhoods. They shy away from cookie-cutter houses. Good curb appeal is a priority according to the National ASsociation of Realtors (2017), having a home with character can increase its worth by up to eight percent. Millennials are also drawn to communities that have cultural outlets such as restaurants, live music venues, and art galleries, which we’ve got covered here from town to town.
Young homeowners are choosing wholesome hobbies such as knitting, canning, and even urban farming as a movement away from tech-related endeavours. When asked, this generation wants to ensure their children have hand on experiences in growing their own food or making their own clothes.
While some are concerned about this migration into their rural communities, I personally think it’s great news. They are choosing to live on or around farms because they genuinely want to work on the land. This group of newcomers is going to come up with their own ways to make things work, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s next for them.