Courtesy Mattamy Homes

Next to “location, location, location,” the truest maxim in real estate is “change, change, change.” While your first home is a milestone, keeping pace with your changing needs is about making all the right moves.

“Move-up buyers have been through the process before and know what they want,” said Michael Winiarz, vice-president of sales and marketing for Mattamy Homes in Calgary.

“Double-car garages and a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms will always be important, and schools, parks and the right community design are also a focus. Move up buyers see these homes as their long-term plan, so they need to check off more boxes personally and emotionally.”

So, what exactly constitutes a move-up home? And who are these move-up buyers?

“As a general statement, $500,000 and above is a move up for most folks.”- Christine Turner,  Mattamy Homes director of customer care, design studio and warranty

“As a general statement, $500,000 and above is a move up for most folks,” said Christine Turner, director of customer care, design studio and warranty with Mattamy Homes. “They are usually moving from attached townhomes or condos to either duplexes or even single-family homes. Compared to the 1950s and ’60s, the profile is quite diverse – mixed families coming from Canada and other parts of the world, young families or empty nesters.”

Despite that diversity, Michael Newton, a Calgary REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, finds that many move-up buyers share a common goal: more space.

“Often these clients are new parents who need to accommodate a family, or people with children that are getting older and require more room,” said Newton.

“They are seeking greater square footage, a mudroom for the kids and expanded entryways that reflect the increase in traffic.”

Both Newton and Turner estimate that 40-50 per cent of new-home and resale product currently on the market would be considered move-up homes. Still, some in the industry take issue with how that term is defined.

“To me, moving up could be buying more space, but it could also be downsizing to a home more suited to your needs,” said Guy Huntingford, CEO of BILD Calgary Region. “It’s really about matching your housing to where you are in life and what’s important to you.”

Regardless of your definition, buyers who are on the move in the current housing market tend to put a premium on value.

“Buyers want to ensure they are getting the best price, options and floorplans, and they will shop the market to make that happen,” said Winiarz.