First-time home-buying on the rise despite less affordability: Altus Group

In its FIRM Residential Mortgage Survey, Altus Group said the majority of those first-time buyers were under 35-years-old, although one in four were aged 35 to 49.

It also noted that houses were becoming more costly to first-time buyers just entering a Canadian market that has already made strong price gains.

“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 for (first-time buyers) in the 2001-2002 period,” said the report.

Getting past that decreased affordability, first-time buyers have been making smaller down payments, utilizing longer amortization periods to reduce payments, going for variable rate mortgages, and getting help from family, said the report.

The report noted in its quarterly survey that first-time buying intentions were down among those who currently rent, however. The report authors speculated that was due to tightened mortgage insurance rules in the last few years.

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