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Half of first-time homebuyers in Calgary worried about insufficient down payment: report

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Kenneth Chan May 13, 2019 2:59 pm 1,358

Half of first-time homebuyers in Calgary are concerned they will miss out on buying a property because they don’t have enough for a down payment.

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According to the findings of a survey by mortgage insurer Genworth Canada, 49% of respondents in Calgary expressed anxiety about their prospects of buying a home with down payment challenges.

Elsewhere in Alberta, 62% of respondents expressed the same type of concern about stretching their down payment to get the home they desired.

Furthermore, the findings note that 47% of respondents in Calgary said their parents did not have to plans to later downsize, and 26% of respondents said staying at their family home delayed their parents’ decision to downsize. Another 31% said they had siblings who would need to move out before their parents could downsize.

“There’s definitely more opportunity in Calgary,” said Corinne Lyall, broker and owner with Royal LePage Benchmark, in a statement. “You have a larger population of younger people who are very career-focused, with more buying ability. There are also a number of baby boomers who are in a position to help their millennial children purchase their first home.”

Interestingly, despite having relatively low average home prices, 60% of survey respondents in Montreal were far more worried about their down payment — more worried than respondents in Vancouver (58%). Home prices in Montreal have seen an uptick, with some investment activity previously seen in Vancouver and Toronto markets transitioning to Quebec.

Toronto had the most anxiety of Canada’s major cities, as 68% of respondents said they felt this way about the prospect of purchasing a home with down payment challenges.

“While interest rates remain historically low, it is not surprising that first-time home buyers in Montreal are increasingly concerned about their down payment,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage. “Montrealers have been watching home values escalate over the past three years. Many are wondering if they have time to grow their down payment or if they should get in the market now as prices continue to rise.”

The survey also asked respondents their commute times, with 42% in Calgary indicating their home location represents a similar commute time for both spouses and partners, which is the highest percentage compared to other major regions in the country and above the national average of 36%.

Within Calgary, 53% also said they chose to buy a more expensive, smaller home close to their place of work, compared to 54% of respondents living in Vancouver.

A majority of respondents in Toronto (59%) and Montreal (52%) also said close proximity to work was more important than the square footage of their home.

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