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This week, Tarion released the results of our first-ever survey of Ontario’s new home buyers,  which we conducted to help us learn more about the consumers we serve. 

Specifically, we wanted to learn how Ontarians are navigating the new home market, from why they prefer new or pre-construction homes over resale homes, to the steps they’re taking to prepare for one of life’s biggest purchases. 

In many ways, the survey confirmed what we already knew about new home buyers and owners, from our many years of administering the province’s new home warranty program. But some of the survey’s findings especially stood out.  

1. New home buyers really value energy efficiency. 

One advantage of buying a new or pre-construction home is the energy efficiency that comes with all new building materials and appliances. When we asked home buyers what factors were most important when shopping for a new home, energy efficiency ranked in the top 5 along with the home’s size, price and style.

At a time when inflation is high and energy costs are increasing, we expected that survey respondents would prioritize energy efficiency; we just didn’t anticipate that it would come out (nearly) on top. 

2. Most new home buyers want to live in, not rent out, their homes – but like having options 

Our survey found that most new home buyers plan to use their home as a principal residence, with only 15% of respondents planning to use it as an investment property. But we found it interesting that more than half of respondents saw their home purchase as a potential source of future income. According to the survey, the possibility of renting out all or part of the home was a top factor for 58% of respondents. 

3. The survey results reflect post-pandemic trends on how Ontarians live and work 

The COVID-19 pandemic affected how Ontarians live and work in many ways, and 2020-21 saw a ‘pandemic exodus’ as increased numbers of urbanites left Canada’s bigger cities, including Toronto, in favour of smaller cities or rural areas – with some leaving Ontario altogether. Our survey findings confirmed that this trend has died down and for the most part, survey respondents aren’t planning to move far from where they currently live. Specifically, more than half (56%) of respondents are considering buying their next home in the same town or city, and half (49%) are considering staying in the same region of Ontario; only 5% plan to leave the province. 

In addition, hybrid or remote work was a factor in many survey respondents’ home purchase planning. For nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents, the need for home office space was a strong consideration when shopping for a home. 

4. New home buyers have strong awareness of the builder’s warranty program – which is a great start. 

Our survey found that not only were eight-in-ten (83%) respondents aware of Ontario’s new home warranty program; six-in-ten (64%) consider it an important factor when shopping for a home. 

Obviously, this was great news for us at Tarion. We want to not only ensure homeowners know the warranty is there for them  but also be well-equipped to get the coverage they’re entitled to if they need it. That’s why we offer helpful tools and information in our Homeowner Resources and Learning Hub

Where do we go from here?

We’re always looking for new ways to develop useful and relevant resources that help homeowners understand their warranty coverage and the claims process. These survey results will help guide our consumer education programs and make sure they’re relevant in today’s new home marketplace. 

Want to read the full report? Check it out.