New homes are expected to be built at a slower pace in Waterloo Region in the coming years, but the overall real estate market won’t slow significantly.

Those are two of the messages that were delivered Tuesday, at a conference organized by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and focused on the local real estate picture.

One of the speakers was Erica McLerie, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Waterloo Region and Guelph.

McLerie predicted that housing starts in the area would fall from the near-record levels seen in 2014, but the resale market would stay around 5,500 sales per year through 2017.

“The number of people moving in and out of the region is huge, and that will lead to a lot of housing transactions – especially in the resale market,” she said.

A hot topic of conversation at the conference was the aging population, and how it could affect real estate trends.

Jamie Shipley, a research and technology advisor with CMHC, said more and more people are choosing to remain in their own homes for as long as possible – even if it means spending money to renovate them.

He said the next phase will be for homeowners to retrofit the main floor of multi-level houses to include a bedroom and accessible washroom, and potentially even ignore the upper floor altogether.

“It’s going to be a challenge, because it’s approaching us faster than we think,” he said.

Renovations are now a $25-billion market in Ontario, said CMHC economist Ted Tsiakopoulos, thanks also to increased levels of basement renovations.

“Young adults are staying home longer, and the need for extra space has become an even more important factor,” he said.

Tsiakopoulos said the reason so many young adults are extending their stays at home is because house prices are increasing faster than wages, pricing them out of many first-time buyers’ range.

In addition to keeping young adults at home, he expects demand for townhouses and condos to grow as they become a more popular alternative to increasingly expensive detached homes.