Is real estate Canadians' new national past time?

Canadians increasingly obsessed with real estate according to new national poll

TORONTO, June 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Is real estate our new national past time? An overwhelming majority of Canadians are telling us it is, as 84 per cent admit they think about real estate on a regular basis in a new national poll for ZoocasaTM, Canada's fastest growing online and mobile real estate service.

"In ever increasing ways, Canadians seem almost obsessed with real estate. And it's understandable. For the vast majority of Canadians, their home is the largest purchase they will make in their lifetime," says Carolyn Beatty, President of Zoocasa. "Because it's such a big investment it has become part of our identity and even defines our sense of community. With easy access to new online tools and information Canadians are participating in this growing pastime more than ever."

Canadians are also acting out their real estate obsession in uniquely 21st century ways. According to Abacus Data, some 85 per cent of people have window shopped for homes online in the last year, while only 28 per cent have set foot in an open house. In fact, 94 per cent of Canadians say it's important for them to see the complete information about a home or condo they are interested in online before even considering going to see it in person.

"Lots of research has shown that our possessions are a part of our self-concept," says Dr. June Cotte, Associate Professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business. "There are at least two main reasons homes are so important to people. One is that they are often seen as an extension of our identity, and represent who we are. A second reason is that owning a home in a desirable location is also seen as an advantage in terms of resources, such as schools, as well as status."

But it's not just homes that people want to view online, they also want help finding a real estate agent. In fact, more than any other professional services - such as accountant, doctor, financial advisor, etc. - Canadians say they want to be able to find a real estate agent online.

"Canadians are finding homes much differently than earlier generations. This is becoming true for customers searching for agents as well. And until recently there was nowhere you could go to find, compare and connect with experienced professional real estate agents across brands," says Lawrence Dale, an industry veteran and Group Head of Real Estate at Zoocasa. "We listened to this research and are providing Canadians with the ability to search for both homes and pre-qualified agents online."

So, when does a past time become an obsession? We may have already crossed that Rubicon in the GTA. Some 47 per cent of people in the GTA describe either themselves or a friend or family member as real estate obsessed compared to 34 per cent of people across Canada. Need more proof? Hockey is Canada's great national pastime. This poll was conducted during the NHL playoffs and just as many people in the GTA say real estate is a common topic of conversation as hockey. 

Last month, Zoocasa re-launched a revolutionary new real estate search site that, for the first time in Canada, allows homebuyers and sellers to search for homes and compare and connect with experienced real estate agents online.

A major component of this new site is a rebate for sellers or buyers when they close the sale or purchase of a home with a Zoocasa partner agent. The rebate is worth thousands of dollars in cash and gift cards from national retailers like Best Buy, Future Shop, Home Depot, Sears, Canadian Tire, Rogers, etc.. On a typical $550,000 transaction, a home buyer or seller can expect the rebate to exceed $2,000.

Zoocasa's new home and agent search is initially focused on Real Estate in the Greater Toronto Area but will be rolling out across major markets in Canada.

The Abacus Data survey was conducted online from June 3 to June 6, 2013.  A total of 1,000 Canadians were surveyed. The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 1,000 respondents is +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20.

About Zoocasa: Zoocasa, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications and part of the Rogers Local Digital Solutions group, is Canada's fastest growing online and mobile real estate destination assisting consumers who are looking to buy or sell their home. With over 6 million visits in 2012 alone, Zoocasa provides an innovative solution that helps Canadians search homes, find a top agent and get a rebate.  For more information, please visit www.zoocasa.com.

SOURCE: Zoocasa

For further information:

Amanda Galbraith, amanda@playbookcommunications.com 416-710-3211

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