First-time homebuyers are ready to buy but struggle with finances

Almost half of potential new buyers say now is a good time to buy according to BMO poll

First-time homebuyers are ready to buy but struggle with finances
Steve Randall

With Ottawa’s latest push to help Canadians become homeowners now launched, more than 40% of first-time buyers say now is a good time to buy.

But a large share of potential buyers remains challenged by their finances with only 14% saying they have the funds for a down payment. For the rest, 55% believe they will have enough saved within 2 years. More than a quarter of respondents say saving for a down payment will be a major challenge and 39% said it will be a minor challenge.

The BMO Economics poll reveals that, even once the down payment is taken care of, many new buyers may stretch their budgets with their choice of home.

Nearly one in seven (13%) first-time home buyers are planning to buy a property which exceeds more than 30% of their income and near 40% are willing to make sacrifices in other areas of their lives to buy a more expensive home.

Long-term planning

"While first-time home buyers believe that market conditions are favourable for buyers, it's important to make sure that carrying the costs are sustainable," said Hassan Pirnia, Head, Personal Lending and Home Financing Products, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Purchasing a home is a major milestone, but it is important to consider how home ownership will impact day-to-day finances and short-term and long-term financial plans."

Just over one third of new home buyers (38%) say they will be debt free before they purchase their first home.

Asked about the government’s new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, 86% believe that the incentive will be useful towards achieving their home ownership goals.