Younger people and first-time buyers are representing an ever-larger portion of home owners in Atlantic Canada, according to a new analysis by RE/MAX.
A major factor in the trend is population growth, especially the gains stemming from immigration. This is supported by the 2016 Census Profiles from Statistics Canada, 10 out of the 15 markets in the region have seen an increase in the local population.
“The Atlantic Region traditionally has the highest rates of home ownership in the country and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon,” RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region executive VP and regional director Christopher Alexander said.
“Greater economic prosperity (the Maritimes are expected to lead the country in GDP growth in 2019), combined with interest rate stability and first-time buyer incentives are tipping the scales in favour of home ownership yet again.”
The study determined that the millennial cohort now accounts for approximately 20% of residents in major regional centres, including St. John’s, Moncton, Saint John, Charlottetown, and Halifax-Dartmouth.
“It is likely this trend will continue for the remainder of the year,” Alexander stated.
Atlantic Canada magnetized a significant number of first-time owners through newly introduced financial assistance programs by provincial governments. Among the most notable of these were grants of $3,000 for qualifying individuals or families (Newfoundland and Labrador’s Home Purchase Program) and repayable loans of up to 40% for existing homes (New Brunswick’s Home Ownership Program).
“These programs are breathing new life into smaller communities, and demand has outpaced supply, leaving realtors scrambling to find new listings for their clients,” Alexander explained. “In some cases, first-time buyers are vying against out-of-province buyers for product.”