Moving Up, Moving Down, Staying Put, Or Renovating, Today's 50-plus Crowd Are Rocking Tradition Not Chairs

TORONTO | Thursday, November 02, 2006

Responding to changing housing needs of the fast growing 50-plus demographic, Royal LePage launches specialized Realtor´┐Ż designation program

Retire those 'old age' stereotypes. Seventy is the new 60. Fine dining trumps early bird specials. Condo living challenges retirement home living. With more than 10-million Canadians now aged 50-plus, the shifting mindset of this demographic is resulting in significant changes within the country's housing market, and warrants special consideration, finds the Royal LePage 50-Plus Report released today.

In response to this evolution, Royal LePage Real Estate Services today announced the launch of the Royal LePage Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Designation Program. The SRES designation is a North American real estate recognized designation, and Royal LePage will be the first organization in Canada to become a certified supplier, making it available to its Realtors in response to the changing housing needs, desires and options available to the 50-plus market.

"For previous generations, retirement came in a predetermined package. However, today's savvy 50-plus demographic is rejecting this archaic model and is instead seeking choices that better embrace their lifestyles," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Our first-to-market SRES program takes a holistic approach to servicing this demographic by empowering 50-plus clients with resources to assist in the planning, counselling and selling of their homes." Currently, 28 per cent of Canadians that are now aged 50-plus intend to sell their home as part of their plans for making living arrangements in old age. Of this 28 per cent who intend to sell their home, the following are the main reasons cited for selling: concerned that their house will be too hard to maintain (67%), want access to equity (46%), plan to travel and do not want the responsibility of a house (38%), concerned that they will not be able to care for themselves (30%), and cannot afford to stay in their house (23%).

Of the potential sellers in the aged 50-plus bracket, 37 per cent plan to move into a smaller, more manageable home and will use the equity from the sale of their home to support retirement (86%), to travel (48%), to give it to their children (42%), and to purchase a recreational property (7%).

Added Soper: "One way that this group continues to defy conventional notions of 'old age' is by redefining how and where they want to live. Traditionally, when the time came for the 50-plus demographic to make a move, some popular choices were to downsize, move in with their kids or move into an assisted living facility. Today, with longer life expectancies, better health and more wealth, the 50-plus group have a plethora of options available to them and there is no longer one best practice." The 50-plus are an extremely influential cohort and companies like Royal LePage, The Home Depot and TD Canada Trust have recognized the importance of this group.

"The 50-plus demographic represent the fastest-growing and largest single consumer group, and are changing the Canadian economic landscape and redefining the approach to business in almost every industry," said David Cravit, senior vice-president, marketing, Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus (CARP).

Through specialty programs, such as The Home Depot's Independent Living Program, which provides products and services to homeowners with mobility issues, and by providing installation of specific products, such as grab bars, ramps and adjustable cabinets, home modification is much more easily accessible. As such, the 50-plus generation has the flexibility to comfortably live where they choose longer than preceding generations.

Continuing with this trend, financial institutions such as TD Canada Trust, are offering many more services and products targeted to the mature property owner. The Home Equity Line of Credit, for example, allows homeowners to borrow against their home equity and can be used for renovations, investments, or even retirement needs. With the right financial approach, retirement does not have to result in delay or a drastically reduced quality of life.

Generation gap or reality check? When asked, "At what age do you plan to retire from your job?" 20 per cent of Canadians aged 30-plus said between the ages of 56 to 60, while only 12 per cent of Canadians aged 50-plus said between the ages of 56 to 60. Perhaps the closer Canadians get to 'retirement age' the less realistic it becomes.

When it comes to lifestyle, 21 per cent of Canadians aged 30-49 plan to have a significantly more modest lifestyle upon retirement, compared to 36 per cent of respondents that are currently in the 50-plus age group.

Honing in on respondents aged 50-plus, 34 per cent said that spending time with family would be their primary focus during retirement, followed by focusing on their hobbies/interest (32%) and travelling (16%).

Regional and gender differences seem to make an impact as well. Residents in the Atlantic provinces (43%) appear the most family oriented when it comes to how they will spend their retirement years. Interestingly, 40 per cent of women said spending time with family will be their primary focus during retirement, compared to only 26 per cent of men. More men (36%) plan to focus on themselves, their hobbies and interests than women (28%).

The majority of 50-plus Canadians are content with the status quo. When asked, "If money were not an issue, how would you like to be living in your retired years?" the responses were, live just as I am now (59%), have two seasonal residences (17%), travel the world with no fixed address (11%), while buying a dream home, moving in with family and children, and relocating to another country each tied at three per cent.

Additional Poll Highlights Fifty-six per cent (56%) of Canadians aged 50-plus now consider old age to be in the range of 70 years and older to 80 years and older. Of Canadians aged 50-plus, when asked, "What are the main reasons for selling your home?" respondents from the Prairie provinces ranked concern about maintenance the highest (84%). Interestingly, Albertans (57%) top the list for wanting access to equity, followed closely by the Prairies (56%), Atlantic Canada and Quebec (50%), British Columbians (48%) and Ontarians (40%). When it comes to plans for living arrangements in their old age, Canadians aged 50-plus in the Prairie provinces (58%) rank highest for wanting to remain in their current home without making changes, while British Columbians (32%) are the most likely to sell up or down size, and those in Atlantic Canada (9%) are most likely to modify their existing home for the aging years. Of the 22 per cent of aged 50-plus Canadians who plan on selling and moving into a smaller more manageable home, 71 per cent of women cited maintenance issues as the reason they would sell compared to 62 per cent of men. Fifty-three per cent (53%) of aged 50-plus Canadians plan to maintain the same lifestyle they did when working; in contrast to 61 per cent of Canadians aged 30-49 years. Methodology Maritz Research conducted a telephone survey among a representative, random sample of 1,682 Canadians aged 30 years and older, proportionately distributed across the country. Interviewing was conducted between October 12th and 17th, 2006. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/-2.39%, 19 times out of 20.

Within the 1,682 sample size, 881 respondents were aged 50 years or older. With a sample of this size results can be considered accurate to within +/-3.30%, 19 times out of 20.

About Royal LePage Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to residential real estate brokerages, with a network of over 12,500 agents and sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada operating under the Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel, and Realty World brand names. Royal LePage manages the Royal LePage Franchise Services Fund, a TSX listed income trust, trading under the symbol "RSF.UN".

About the Royal LePage Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Designation Program The Royal LePage Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Designation Program will commence during the first quarter of 2007, and will be offered four times throughout the year. The designation will require candidates to complete a two-day in-person lecture, pass a final exam and close three transactions with seniors in a 12-month period. The SRES is endorsed by CARP.

For further information, please contact: Selena Fiacco National Communications Manager 416.510.5699 [email protected]

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