Demand from baby boomers over age 55 — many downsizing from “empty nest” homes — will support steady price growth in eight urban condominium markets across Canada, according to new data released by Genworth Financial Canada, a subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc., on Wednesday.

Genworth’s Summer 2007 Metropolitan Condominium Outlook report finds the condo market demand easing slightly nationally, although new construction and resale activity remain high by historical standards. Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa all had record starts last year.

With the exception of Edmonton, condo starts will be down across the country this year as builders look to clear inventory before expanding into new construction. The slowdown will further support price levels for existing condos, as will demand from boomers over age 55. All markets will see price increases in 2007, ranging from 4.4% in Toronto to 36.4% in Edmonton.

“The record number of baby boomers will help maintain demand for condos in markets across the country, keeping price growth steady. That will benefit first-time homebuyers, who otherwise might worry about their investment in a future condo downturn,” said Peter Vukanovich, president of Genworth Financial Canada.

The Genworth report concludes that “the increasing population share of those 55 and over in all major urban areas provides a solid demographic underpinning that is critical to the condo market’s longer term health.”

Census figures released in July by Statistics Canada show the number of people aged 55-64, many of whom are approaching retirement, is at a record high of 3.7 million. For example, boomers age 55 -64 now account for 30.1% of the Greater Toronto Area population, and 30% of the Montreal population.

“Condos have traditionally been the entry point for first-time homebuyers and we continue to see that in major urban centres. But we’re also seeing a clear trend among downsizing baby boomers who are looking for convenience, security and the ability to enjoy their retirement living in a condo where they can walk to restaurants and shopping, transit, and enjoy a new lifestyle,” said Bob Finnigan, president of the Building Industry and Land Development Association.

The Summer 2007 Metropolitan Condominium Outlook reviewed resale condo markets in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. All eight markets registered price growth in 2006 and are forecast to continue to grow this year and through 2011.