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Survey shows new immigrants in a rush to buy first home

February 12, 2022

By Globe and Mail

As Canada’s housing market continues to be whipped to new price heights, a survey of new immigrant home buyers in the country’s biggest real estate market suggests some may be willing to pay more than non-immigrants to land that first home.

In its year-end market round-up, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board presented some survey results from Ipsos Public Affairs, which has been working with TRREB on market insight surveys since 2015. Where in the past Ipsos did research on the share of foreign buyers in the market, this year it tackled the path new immigrants take to home ownership. Among the findings was data that suggested a large share of new immigrants are home buyers within their first five years of arriving in Canada, and that in general they are more interested in home ownership than the non-immigrant population.

“We have this mythology of the poor immigrant coming in and they are going to be renting undesirable apartments for years and struggle to get jobs and education,” said Sean Simpson, vice-president, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs. “Certainly that’s the experience for some groups. What this data is showing us is, after a couple of years, many of them are doing what the rest of us are able to do – and that’s buy a home.”

The Ipsos online survey sampled 1,000 potential home buyers and 2,500 homeowners. It found that among its immigrant respondents living in Toronto, 49 per cent now own a home after being here less than five years. Peel Region, which contains the cities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, appeared especially attractive to newcomers. Of homeowners surveyed there, 43 per cent had arrived between six and 10 years ago, and fully 32 per cent in just the past five years.

Overall, 38 per cent of homeowner respondents had immigrated to Canada. Of those, 50 per cent had been in Canada for more than 21 years, 23 per cent arrived between 10 and 20 years ago and 27 per cent had moved here in the past 10 years. Among immigrants surveyed who did not already own a home, 33 per cent said they were likely to buy a home, compared to 26 per cent of the general population.

“I work with many first time home buyers,” said Navneet Bhasin, a Brampton-based real estate salesman with EXP Realty. “Some of them are moving from the [United] States. They had good jobs and money, and they are going for detached homes.

“The ‘struggle period’ is less for them than, let’s say, someone coming from India without a job, versus someone from the Middle East, Hong Kong or the U.S.,” who often have the ability to work remotely.

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