Canadian Real Estate Industry Consumer Sentiment Survey

In a recent Leger survey commissioned by RE/MAX Canada in February 2021, we asked consumers for their sentiments about the Canadian real estate industry. Here’s what they had to say.

Consumer Confidence & Knowledge in Canadian Real Estate

  • When gauging consumer confidence when transacting in Canadian real estate, survey respondents were almost equally split, with 56% saying they are confident in buying/selling residential real estate, while 48% are not confident. Almost half (49%) of those who said they are confident are millennial homebuyers.
  • 57% of Canadians indicated that they are knowledgeable about the home-buying and -selling process, while 41% claimed to not be knowledgeable. Of those who are not knowledgeable, almost half (46%) are millennials – the largest cohort of Canadians engaging in the real estate market.
  • Demographically, those who said they felt knowledgeable were significantly more likely to be male (64%), aged 25 and older, and earning an annual income of $80,000 or more (70%).

Given the critical importance that real estate plays in the Canadian economy and in the personal wealth of many Canadians, the disconnect between those who are knowledgeable and confident in the real estate transaction, compared to those who are not, could be deemed concerning, given that owning a home is the largest financial decision most Canadians will ever make. Understanding the market and feeling confident in the process is critical. This is the gap that a professional REALTOR can and should fill – working with the home buyer/seller in partnership, to add the knowledge and confidence that a transaction of this magnitude should have.

Who’s Engaging Professional REALTORS to Buy and Sell Homes?

  • Three-quarters of Canadians (77%) who have bought or sold a home said they have used a REALTOR® to buy or sell it.
  • Those who earn less than $40,000 were significantly less likely to have used one (66%) compared to those who earn between $40,000-$80,000 (80%).
  • 16% of Canadians said they have bought or sold their home privately.
  • 6% of Canadians said they have used a DIY listing service.

Repeat Real Estate Customers

  • Three-quarters (73%) of Canadians say they are likely to use a REALTOR for the future sale or purchase of a property, especially if they’ve used one in the past (86%). 40% said they are “very likely” to use a REALTOR.
  • Demographically, those who are likely to use a REALTOR in the future are significantly more likely to be male (73%), and reported feeling both knowledgeable (81%) and confident (81%) when it comes to buying and selling residential real estate.
  • Those who have worked with a professional REALTOR, which accounts for 77% of Canadians, said they are satisfied with their experience, and 51% said they were “very satisfied.”
  • Canadians who have worked with a professional REALTOR are most likely to disagree with the sentiment that commissions are the only top priority of real estate professionals. Of the 49% of Canadians who do not feel that commissions are the only priority of real estate professionals, 60% have recently worked with a REALTOR.

The bottom line – Canadians value working with a professional REALTOR, especially after already having worked with one. But what are the factors that play into their level of satisfaction?

A “Professional REALTOR,” Defined

Interestingly enough, much of the satisfaction attributed to the experience and confidence in the professional partnership comes from factors outside of technical expertise. The key differentiator between professional REALTORS and FSBO/DIY services comes down to “soft” skills – empathy, honesty, trust and effective communication.

  • 92% of Canadians could think of at least one indicator of “professionalism” as it relates to REALTORs.
  • 52% of Canadians said honesty/transparency is the top indicator of a professional REALTOR, followed by trust (39%) and effective communication skills (31%).
  • Other criteria for “professional” REALTOR attributes that are most important to Canadian consumers:
    – Trustworthiness (39%)
    – Effective communication skills (31%)
    – Neighbourhood knowledge and expertise (27%)
    – Negotiating skills (24%)
    – Ethics (24%)
    – Dedication (17%)
    – Personality (11%)
    – Punctuality (9%)
    – Use of technology (9%)
    – Email/phone etiquette (8%)
    – Empathy (7%)
    – Poise/composure (5%)
  • The majority of Canadians (84%) said they would be likely to use a professional REALTOR if they met professional standards as defined by ethics, empathy, dedication, trustworthiness and knowledge.

The Necessity of Maintaining Professionalism

While Canadians are currently “satisfied,” they also seem to be split down the middle on willingness to shift to virtual real estate practices, citing increased tech options as to why.

  • Half (50%) of Canadians have claimed that even with increased technology available to buy/sell a home online, they would still choose to work with a professional REALTOR; of this group, 43% are millennials.
  • The upside – 81% of Canadians say they would be more likely to work with a professional REALTOR if they had a certification of professionalism, along with their legal licenses.

RELATED READING: Canadian Real Estate Industry at a Critical Crossroads

About the Survey
An online survey of 1,500 Canadians was completed between January 28-February 2, 2021, using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e.a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 1500 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 400,000 members nationally and has a retention rate of 90%. Stringent quality assurance measures allow Leger to achieve the high-quality standards set by the company. As a result, its methods of data collection and storage outperform the norms set by WAPOR (The World Association for Public Opinion Research). These measures are applied at every stage of the project: from data collection to processing, through to analysis.We aim to answer our clients’ needs with honesty, total confidentiality, and integrity.

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Lydia McNutt

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