First-time homebuyers a growing real estate market

Courtesy: Mario Toneguzzi, Postmedia News 

First-time home buyers have accounted for about one in every two homes sold in Canada in the past two years, representing more than a quarter of a million sales per year across the country, says a new report.

A housing report by the Altus Group, an economic consulting firm, says the majority of first-time buyers are in the under-35 age group with the 25-to-34 segment alone accounting for six out of every 10 firsttime buyers. Many first-time buyers are more 'mature' with about one in four aged 35 to 49 years old.

The report says over one-fifth of first-time buyers purchased a newly-built home. Of these, about one in three opted for a condominium unit. About one in four recent first-time buyers was a single-person household.

"The average house price for a recent (first-time buyer) in Canada was about $273,000. This is about four times the average annual household income of about $69,000 -up substantially from the price/income ratio of 2.7 per cent for (first-time buyers) in the 2001-2002 period," says the report.

First-time buyers have taken advantage of various means to help them get into home ownership: minimal down-payments; longer amortization periods to reduce regular payments; variable rate mortgages to reduce regular payments; RRSPs for down-payments; and help from family.

But the FIRM Residential Mortgage Survey, conducted quarterly by the Altus Group and Ipsos Reid, found first-time buyer intentions among those who currently rent were down from a year ago and were also below the average level of the 2002-09 period.

Softer first-time home-buying intentions are tied to the additional tightening in mortgage insurance rules in the past two years.

The Matthew Olsgard Team

The Matthew Olsgard Team

CENTURY 21 Fusion
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