Tracking New Home Buyers Wants and Needs


Understanding the market and customer base is essential for all industries and the companies therein. In 2014-2015, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and Avid Ratings Canada conducted the first nationwide market preference study for the home building industry, surveying 12,386 new homeowners across six provinces of Canada. The inaugural year of the study was tremendously successful in providing the Canadian home building industry with key insights regarding today’s home buyers.

To build upon this landmark research, a subsequent year of the study was deployed in 2015-2016. The sample size for the second year of the study increased considerably, with 23,402 new homeowners being surveyed across eight provinces. The study uncovers who today’s Canadian home buyers are and what they want in a new home. A significant 13% response rate was generated in this second year of the study – average response rates in other countries for similar studies are around 5%, such as the NAHB preference study in the U.S. Similar to the inaugural year, year two of the study was received well by consumers who were willing to take the time to provide valuable feedback to the Canadian home building industry.

A Landmark Study – Even Larger in Year Two Overall, the findings uncover important areas relevant to home builders looking to increase market share. These areas are grouped into three main sections: Acquiring Today’s Home Buyer, Home Features and Design Preferences, and Community Amenities. On-Demand Reports and Data Mining Unique for an industry-sponsored market study of its kind, Avid Ratings Canada releases its award-winning Avid Reports system, enabling industry professionals to dynamically drill down on the data that matters most to their organizations. For example, by using the Avid Reports system, a builder is able to narrow the data set to a city or province to reveal market data targeted to that geographical area. In addition, Avid Reports provides a variety of regional and local pre-set benchmarks, allowing builders who participated, to display their company’s market data compared to any of the local or national benchmarking databases.

The BPS is considered a “must have” for anyone who is involved in any way with the development, marketing and sale of new homes in Ottawa. But there is also a lot of great information for consumers who wish to make sure that they are purchasing a new home that includes all of the most popular amenities and features going forward rather than features that are now waning in popularity. The report is 218 pages in length and can be purchased from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association at

Some of the most interesting highlights from this year’s report are summarized below.

  • The “growing family with children” is the largest cohort buying new homes based on responses to the 2016 survey
  • Three key “themes” appear highest in the rankings in the 2016 study:
    • Kitchens are of paramount importance (e.g. open-concept, kitchen islands)
    • Storage spaces are must have features (e.g. walk-in closets, linen closets, pantries, 2-car garages)
    • Energy-efficiency is highly desirable on several fronts, including high-efficiency windows, energy-efficient appliances, an overall energy-efficient homes,
      • 5 percent of respondents indicate that their motivation to seek energy-efficient features in their next home is to reduce utility costs
      • 58 percent of respondents would spend an extra $3,000 to $5,000 on their next home to reduce utility costs by $1,200 per year
    • A few of the items that increased in importance between the 2015 and 2016 study include:
      • Importance of social media as a resource for finding a builder
      • Formal living rooms
      • Smart home technology
      • Proximity to public transit
    • A few of the items that declined in importance between the 2015 and 2016 study include:
      • Soaker tub in the master ensuite
      • Stone exteriors
      • Overall community landscaping
    • 72 percent of respondents would be looking for a new home for their next home
    • As a trade-off to improve affordability, 22 percent would accept a smaller home and 18 percent would accept a location farther from work and amenities


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