It's All In The Family...

How do Canadians define home? At a time when alarming world news is just a click away, it seems we’re united in our view that home is where we feel safe, enjoy the company of others and get comfy.

A recent survey by Century 21 asked 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over to describe what home means to them. The answers varied slightly from region to region with family topping the list in every province, followed closely by a sense of comfort and safety. 

Canadians define “home” using their hearts and humour, survey reveals

Familiar holiday anthems ring out about warmth, comfort, and love, themes that mirror Canadians’ definition of “home” according to a CENTURY 21 Canada survey. 

The top 10 ways Canadians define home:

  1. Family
  2. Comfort
  3. Safe
  4. Place
  5. Love
  6. Live
  7. Warmth
  8. Relaxing
  9. Peace
  10. Happiness

Brian Rushton, executive vice-president of Century 21 Canada, says the heartwarming responses resonate with most people. “We’ve just not asked it this way before,” he says. “But when we read it, we say of course that makes sense.”

Instead of asking the typical real estate questions related to finances, type of property or home prices, Century 21 took a different approach, giving respondents a chance to describe home in five words or less.

The resulting data underscores the emotional side of home buying.

“The whole thing about the Canadian dream about owning a piece of real estate, settling down and having a family and a dog running around in the backyard — that’s right out of a storybook,” says Rushton.

“But we’ve had young couples come back to us after a year and say … the whole idea was great, we’ve got the house, but we don’t have enough money to do anything with it.

In markets like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, where single family home prices are out of reach for many first-time buyers, the survey results indicate that a sense of home applies to anyone, even those who rent. Rushton’s sons in Vancouver are choosing a lifestyle of convenience and proximity to activities over home ownership.

“They don’t own their own properties … but they still walk in and head for their comfortable chair,” he says.

The survey results demonstrate that the personal value of a house is embedded in Canadian culture, says Rushton. British Columbians were the only province to include “friend” in their top 10 while Quebecers were the only ones to add “investment,” showing a more practical side.

Ontarians were awarded the title of “most creative region,” using nearly 90 unique terms to define home. Some of the more humorous and brutally honest responses to the survey included: an escape from people, sweatpants, kitty, no strata fees and awesome.

“So many things happen globally and because of technology today we hear it instantly,” says Rushton. “I think when you drive in your own driveway, put the car in the garage, walk in and settle in your comfortable chair in the den before dinner, it’s almost like a big sigh of relief.”

The Century 21 survey sampled the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairie provinces, Alberta and British Columbia. Responses are used as a conversation starter and to keep the emotional side to home buying front and centre.

“We all need a roof over our head, and if we can afford to do it we buy. But now, how do we make it into a home?” says Rushton.

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Justin Lepore

Justin Lepore

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CENTURY 21 Team Realty Ltd., Brokerage*
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