Rising prices and stricter qualifying rules for mortgages aren’t keeping first-time homebuyers from taking steps to realize their dreams of ownership.

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But there are areas of significant change in the last two years, reveals a home ownership study by Genworth Canada. For example, financial confidence of affording a home has dropped to 39% from 44%.

And, when it comes to saving for a down payment, fewer first-time buyers are using non-registered accounts (65%, down from 69%), while more first-time buyers are withdrawing savings from TFSAs (29%, up from 24%), probably indicating the increased popularity of the latter. The use of RRSPs remains unchanged, at 39%. (Survey respondents could choose more than one savings method.)

The average home price for first-time buyers is $402,000 and the average down payment is $76,000, or 17% of the total home price. In Toronto, the average price increases to $610,000, with a down payment of $148,000. In Vancouver, the average price is $557,000, with a down payment of %146,000.


Though the proportion of Canadians who are first-time homebuyers has declined to 5.8% from 7.3% in the last two years, the motivations and profile of potential homebuyers remain consistent.

For example, about half of first-time homebuyers believe owning a home is a wise financial decision (49%). And most are employed full time (84%), work in private business (48%), have at least a university degree (61%) and have a combined household income of more than $100,000 (33%).

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Read the full study.

About the survey: From January 28 to February 9, 2017, interviews were conducted with 1,803 Canadians, aged 25 to 40 who purchased their first homes within the previous two years. The findings were compared to a similar study in 2015 to identify new attitudes and trends.