A Re/Max survey says 70 per cent of home sales in the next 24 months will be to repeat buyers with some previous experience as owners.
The real-estate marketing organization says second-time or multi-time purchasers will be more fiscally conservative and don't plan to over-extend themselves.
And it says slightly more than 80 per cent of potential buyers surveyed believed that housing values in their area will rise or remain the same.
Re/Max says 42 per cent of those surveyed said they expected to spend between $250,000 and $500,000.
The findings are in line with other research that found first-time buyers had been discouraged by stricter mortgage rules since last summer and affordability issues.
But the survey found first-time buyers aren't sitting totally on the sidelines and will make up a third of the market.
The survey also says almost one in five buyers will be single.
"Purchasing patterns have evolved, with a more conservative, fiscally responsible purchaser moving to the forefront," Gurinder Sandhu, executive vice-president and regional director of Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada.
Re/Max says second-time and multi-time buyers became a more important part of the market in the latter half of 2012.
"While affordability took a hit in 2012, homeowners with considerable equity remain confident and well-positioned. They will be the driving force fuelling the bulk of home sales in the months ahead," Sandhu said in a news release.
While some buyers intend to downsize or make lateral moves, many of those trading up have amassed considered equity, he said.
Not surprisingly, of those putting down 30 per cent or more, 45 per cent were aged 55 and over, the survey said.
Sandhu noted that first-time buyers are experiencing a period of adjustment.
The survey indicted that singles would be the most cautious buyers with 47 per cent of purchasers intending to spend under $250,000.
Of the buyers planning to spend $500,000 to $1 million, almost half resided in Ontario, while the remaining 50 per cent were almost evenly divided between British Columbia and Alberta.