Here’s what big city of multiple property owners look like

by Neil Sharma on 30 Jul 2021

More than a tenth of homeowners in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal own multiple properties, according to a Royal LePage survey of 1,500 Canadians.

Greater Vancouver Area

The third-largest metropolitan area in Canada has the largest share of multiple property owners, according to the survey, at 14%, of whom 27% don’t collect rental income, 51% rent the properties full-time, 13% use them both personally and as rental properties, and 7% currently have vacancies.

“Real estate is an integral part of retirement planning for many Vancouver homeowners,” said Caroline Baile, real estate broker with Royal LePage Sussex. “While some are using their secondary properties, possibly a cottage or a ski chalet, many of those with multiple homes are looking to build future equity as a means of sustaining a desired lifestyle down the road. Investment properties are not likely being used to subsidize monthly income, but are seen as a long-term investment.”

Fourteen percent of homeowners between the ages of 18 and 35 in the Greater Vancouver Area own multiple properties, while another 14% over 35 do as well. Baile says that in demonstrating such market savviness, younger homeowners clearly have an eye on their futures, but considering Vancouver real estate is Canada’s most expensive, it’s likely they have received parental help.

“Young people today put a lot of emphasis on work-life balance. They want their money to work for them, and they recognize that investing in real estate has the potential for great returns,” said Baile. “While so many young Canadians struggle to enter the real estate market, those fortunate enough to do so, whether on their own or with financial support from their parents, will reap the benefits in the future.”

Greater Toronto Area

In the GTA, 13% of survey respondents own more than one property, 27% of whom don’t collect rental income from their second properties. However, 49% own second properties for rental purposes, and 15% use their secondary properties themselves and for rental income purposes.

“Canadian homeowners believe in the value of real estate because they have seen their investments grow over time,” said Karen Millar, a sales representative with Royal LePage Signature Realty. “People feel confident investing in real estate because it is a physical entity that they can experience. Although the market may see peaks and valleys, homes have historically generated wealth in the long run.”

Eighteen percent of homeowners between the ages of 18 and 35 in the GTA own multiple properties, while 11% of homeowners over 35 do, indicating that young buyers are shrewd students of the market and want to capitalize on real estate appreciation, often looking outside Toronto in areas like Guelph and London, which have heavy student presences, where they can purchase for as little as $300,000, says Millar.

“Parents of students in Ontario’s university towns are also taking advantage of the local rental market, purchasing a property—oftentimes with multiple units—for their children to stay in while studying and also as a source of rental income from other students.”

Greater Montreal Area

Out of Canada’s three largest cities, Montreal area real estate is the cheapest and it’s allowed 12% of survey respondents to purchase more than one property. Of these multiple property homeowners, 37% don’t collect rental income from their second properties, while 25% use the properties specifically to collect rent. Nine percent reported a confluence of personal use and rental income, and 4% reported vacancies.

“Among secondary property owners in Montreal, the majority are using the properties for leisure, like recreational purposes, rather than as an investment,” said Roseline Guèvremont, a real estate broker with Royal LePage Tendance. “In Toronto and Vancouver, where prices have been soaring for several years, homeowners have been taking advantage of the significant equity in their primary residences in order to purchase a secondary property, and renting it out at least part of the time as an investment. In Montreal, although the real estate market has begun to catch up in recent years, prices remain considerably more affordable, so buyers can purchase without necessarily leveraging equity from a primary residence.”

Sixteen percent of homeowners 18-35 own more than one property, while only 11% over 35 do, suggesting that younger homeowners are already diligently planning for their futures by looking for other income streams and eventually capitalizing on their home equity.

Montreal has among North America’s highest number of students per capita and with post-secondary institutions opening their doors again this fall, landlords are hoping to make back the losses they incurred during the pandemic when students moved back in with their parents or returned to their home countries.

“With the return of in-person classes this fall and the opening of the border to U.S. visitors, demand is already being renewed in the rental market,” said Guèvremont. “Montreal’s real estate investors had a tough time generating profits from their units over the last year due to COVID-19.”

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