Young Canadians deferring home ownership: RBC

By Vikram Barhat | April 7, 2011 | Last updated on April 7, 2011
2 min read

Fear of a mortgage taking too big a bite out of their incomes is forcing young Canadians defer home ownership, this according to the 18th Annual RBC Homeownership Study.

The survey noted that 55% of young Canadians feel it’s wise to put off home purchases until next year.

“In a more balanced housing market, it makes sense that younger and first time homebuyers are waiting to assess all of their options and do their research before buying a home,” says Bernice Dunsby, director of client acquisition, home equity, RBC. “It’s also important to get expert advice on what you can afford and leave yourself with a little extra wiggle room in your budget so you don’t become house poor, as home maintenance and lifestyle costs can add up.”

The poll found younger participants aged 18-34 are more likely to purchase a home than other age groups; 43% are looking to buy in the next two years, compared to the national average of 29%.

The study showed that while over 70% of older Canadians are more likely to turn to real estate agents for advice on purchasing a home, younger buyers tend to source that information from real estate websites (55%) or family (48%) and friends (35%).

According to the poll’s findings, younger Canadians are most concerned about having a good down payment (23%) and rising real estate prices (23%). Older Canadians are more concerned about mortgage rates and rising home prices.

Dunsby offers some tips for younger Canadians looking to buy a home:

Leave some wiggle room: Look at your paycheque and compare it to your total costs. Make sure you have enough left over for new furniture, repairs and living costs. Do a spending analysis to see what the total costs of home ownership would be relative to your lifestyle.

Line up your financing: Mortgage pre-approvals help lock in your interest rate and show real estate agents and sellers you’re serious.

Don’t overbuy: Choose a home within your means and be prepared to make concessions on features. Set aside a budget for ongoing home maintenance and potential cost increases for things like utilities, taxes and fees. Online tools and calculators can help you plan your budget.

Look at payment flexibility: Some mortgages provide the option of doubling up payments or putting down a lump sum payment once a year. Doubling up your mortgage payment just once per year can save you tens of thousands in interest costs and take years off the amortization period.

Don’t forget closing costs: Depending on the province and municipality, you’ll pay one to two per cent of your final purchase price. Build this into the budget along with the cost of new appliances, utility and cable hook-ups and moving costs.

Vikram Barhat