Baby Boomers. Maybe you’re part of this infamous group born roughly between 1946 and 1964, starting just after World War II. Or maybe they’re your parents or grandparents. Regardless, the sheer size of this generation has an impact on the Guelph housing market.

From an aerial view, it would be easy to see where the post-war housing boom began in Guelph. The style of homes from the 40s can be identified as often smaller, steep-pitched one and a half storey dwellings. Sometimes built on a cement pad. This style of home is on streets like Cassino, Dunkirk and Memorial.

As time passed, the 1950s brought the construction of brick bungalows as extensions of Guelph’s original neighbourhoods. Good examples of these: streets like Campion, Avondale and Robertson in Exhibition Park, or Laverne, Callander and Bennett in St Georges Park.

These homes were built in the early to late 1950s including Onward Willow (Western, Rosewood, Ridgewood) and Riverside Park (Gladstone, Metcalfe and Emma) among others. Many of the Baby Boomers in Guelph started their early lives in these areas.

As the Boomers started buying homes, their influence on real estate fueled Guelph’s next generation of neighbourhoods. These include areas like Kortright West and Kortright Hills. Homes were larger as a whole- with more bedrooms and bathrooms, double car garages, larger lots and swimming pools.

What is the next move for Baby Boomers?

But now that Boomers are starting to hit retirement age, what’s the next move they’ll make? And how will this impact the local Guelph real estate market? There are a few interesting trends to note.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released a report this month after ten years of data. This collection concluded that seniors are staying in their homes longer. This is because they’re working longer before retiring. They’re also healthier and wealthier and have a sense of community within their neighbourhoods.

By Baby Boomers staying in their homes longer, this could indicate future housing pressures. Younger generations historically have moved in when seniors decide to move out. This would have a ripple effect on a market, where the supply of newer housing isn’t meeting up with the demand. As a result, there are potentially higher market prices.

For the Boomers that decide they are going to move on, they’re often aiming to make this their last move. This means considerations of maintenance, mobility and size to weigh. To meet those goals, Boomers have zoned in on condominiums and bungalows.

More condo developments are being built in Guelph to meet the growing demand. And it’s in the numbers: condo sales are growing market share in Guelph versus other types of housing. From entry-level to penthouse units, condos offer many of the amenities that seniors desire.

It’s not uncommon to see both first time buyers and downsizers competing for the same type of house. But for completely different reasons.

First-time buyers can find smaller, more affordable condos. Smaller bungalows are more affordable with other benefits like rental income. UPDATE on bungalow popularity here. And ironically, some seniors are moving back to their childhood style of home – the post-war bungalow. It’s because they still want a small yard to maintain, but want something more manageable.

We’re typically used to looking at hard data and facts to determine the market dynamics. But the intangible impact of the Baby Boomers on the Guelph real estate market is certainly something to consider.

If you have any questions, you can contact Beth and Ryan here