Survey: first-time buyers confident about financial health

The online poll asked over 1,500 Canadians questions about their financial wellbeing and revealed that first-time buyers who purchased in the past two years say they are prepared to shoulder the financial responsibilities. Those who intend to purchase at some point over that same two-year period are equally confident, according to the survey, released Wednesday.

In the poll, 81% of first-time buyers and “intenders” said they are confident in their financial future. It’s significantly higher than the 63% of respondents who do not own a home and don’t intend to buy one in the next two year who were also bullish on their long-term financial situation.

"Buying a home is a major financial purchase,” said Debbie McPherson, senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Genworth Canada. “It's an achievable goal for Canadians who do their homework and plan accordingly. Owning a home gives people financial confidence and a sense of security."

The findings appear to back up the anecdotal observation of mortgage brokers from across the country. They’re pointing to first-time homebuyers as a major factor in this spring’s robust market.

“It has been extremely busy and I’d definitely ahead of where I was last year,” Deb Murdoch, a broker with The Mortgage Group Prairies Inc., told “The first-time buyers are trying to qualify for deals and here in Saskatoon, we’re in a bit of a boom economy with new residents coming to work in our health care sector or manufacturing. Another factor is that the rental market is tight and people see ownership as very attractive.”

That’s not exclusive to Saskatoon.

The mortgage broker channel has traditionally benefited from first-time buyers, say analysts. It means the industry as a whole should benefit from the race to buy homes before interest rates climb back.

The national online survey included 254 first-time homeowners and intenders. Environics conducted the research between January 19 and February 1 and just before Ottawa ushered in mortgage rule changes meant to discourage Canadians from adding to debt levels already at historic highs. Those changes may have done little to dampen consumer confidence.

 Other findings from the Genworth Financial Canada/the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services poll include:

•    92% say that homeownership may mean more work and effort but it's worth it.

•    68% have the goal to pay off their mortgage as fast as possible.

•    67% enjoy planning their financial future.

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