Conference Board sees big shift in housing market

OTTAWA — A major shift will take place in the Canadian housing market over the next two decades as aging baby boomers downsize from houses to apartments and condos, the Conference Board of Canada says.

OTTAWA — A major shift will take place in the Canadian housing market over the next two decades as aging baby boomers downsize from houses to apartments and condos, the Conference Board of Canada says.

“If you believe the demographics, it’s pretty evident that there’s going to be a fundamental change in housing demand,” Pedro Antunes, the think-tank’s director of forecasting and analysis, said in an interview Thursday.

By 2030, more than 80 per cent of new housing demand will come from those 65 and older, the board predicted in a recent blog post. And in that time frame, around 60 per cent of new households will be formed by those 75 and up.

“Baby boomers have had a huge impact on the housing market for years and years, and it’s just because they’re such a big cohort in the demographic,” said Antunes.

“They are about a third of the population currently, and so as they go through their different life cycle changes, I guess you tend to have an impact on various aspects of the economy, including housing.”

The oldest baby boomers are just starting to enter their retirement years now. But the starkest changes will take place when the tail-end of that group — those in their late 40s and early 50s — retire.

Over the next 20 years, the last of the baby boomers will have satisfied their demand for single-detached homes and will likely look for properties that are easier to maintain, like apartments and condos.

“By the time we get to 2030, we see very, very different housing demand,” said Antunes.

“Businesses need to plan for that, I think. I think people need to plan for that sort of thing and have time to adapt and adjust.”