COVID-19 has put the brakes on just about everything – except the home sales, which increased by 46 percent in September to set a record. The October sales figure fell less than 1 percent of that number, but still was up by nearly a third over October 2019. Home prices are up by about 10 percent, or twice the average, and recreational property pricing is up 11.5 percent.
These increases in home sales can be attributed to an increase in Canadians working from home. In addition, record low rates and a 13 percent decrease in household spending during the pandemic means that buyers have greater flexibility in purchasing. Being freed from ties to physical offices has allowed workers to head for more rural areas where cost of living is lower and there’s more space between neighbors – especially attractive during a pandemic. Nearly a third, especially among younger home buyers, have expressed the desire to live a rural life.
Less than a year ago, nearly half of Millennials thought they wouldn’t be able to purchase their own home and, of those who had, nearly half relied on financial help from family. The combination of greater levels of personal debt than prior generations and rising home costs had made home ownership seem impossible. Home sales among Millennials was lower than any other previous generation at the same life stage.
Despite record-shattering cost increases, nearly a third of Millennials now believe that the pandemic will eventually result in lower home costs and one-fifth have already taken advantage of low interest rates to move forward with their home-buying plans. Pricing on downtown condos, which are particularly attractive to Millennials, has remained flat. This could represent a good opportunity for Millennials to enter the housing market when interest is at historically low rates.
As Millennials become homeowners, they also want to renovate those homes to better reflect their personal taste and style. They are also coming across the unexpected expenses of homeownership, including whole-home systems such as HVAC, electrical and plumbing that need regular maintenance and repairs. Although Millennials want to make their homes more comfortable, many are just not that interested in doing it for themselves and they really don’t feel confident in their DIY skills.
What they are interested in doing for themselves is tracking down recommendations – Millennials are tech-savvy and want to hear from others’ personal experience. They value reviews for everything they buy, including home repair services. Millennials aren’t alone in this – 82 percent of consumers read reviews when choosing a service or product and most want to see at least 10 reviews – but reliance on reviews skews younger.
The combination of reliance on reviews and the burgeoning on-demand services market means websites that profess to vet contractors have become ubiquitous. These sites are a great place to find reviews and recommendations, but homeowners should still request references, check to make sure contractors have proper licensing and insurance and apply for permits at the appropriate municipal office.
Managing a contractor can be a lot of work and, in this on-demand age, it’s something many homeowners don’t want to be bothered with. Service Line Warranties of Canada can provide a smooth experience for customers with a network of thoroughly vetted contractors who undergo background checks and are subject to post-job satisfaction surveys. Service Line Warranties also has a call centre with live agents available 24/7/365. We provide optional home repair service subscriptions to homeowners – when a homeowner gives us a call, we dispatch a vetted network contractor, monitor the job and pay the contractor for the work, taking all the effort out of an emergency home repair.
In addition, when a municipality partners with Service Line Warranties, we will work with the municipality to educate residents on their water and sewer service line responsibilities, of which many homeowners are unaware, at no cost to the municipality.
To learn how you can partner with us and make home repair hassle-free for your residents, contact us.