Many modest-income Canadians who have never owned a home may never own a home, at least not an average home. That is, unless they can live almost anywhere (work remotely, for example), and/or they’re buying with someone else (e.g., a significant other). Here’s why…
First-time homebuyers now expect to pay $433,000 on average, according to a recent BMO survey. That’s a big deal because a typical individual first-timer “only” makes around $60,000 a year, according to StatsCan. With the minimum 5% down, the most expensive home that person could qualify for is about $248,000 (assuming no condo fees and $500 in other monthly obligations, like car payments). That’s over 42% less than what first-timers plan to spend, according to the poll.
Note to single folks out there looking for love (and a new home): You might want to ensure your new sweetheart has a 720+ FICO score and enough provable income to help you pass the mortgage stress test.
Meanwhile, the country’s average home costs even more–over $678,000. That’s a jaw-dropping 25% increase in just 12 months—the biggest nationwide price gain in over three decades, per CREA’s data.
Soaring prices mean surging down payments. 36% of first-timers report they can only muster between a 5 and 10% down payment.
That’s interesting because the last time prices went parabolic to this degree (+25% y/y) was 1989. It was a historical turning point for the market. After a run-up that saw home prices double in just four years, prices sold off 13% nationally following that 1989 peak and then flat-lined for the next decade. Although, they fell far more in places like Toronto.
To say that home prices have run away from newbie buyers is an understatement. And 40% have had enough, telling BMO they’ll wait to buy a home until “prices come down.”
None of this is a prediction of what’s to come. It’s more of a reminder not to panic-buy. Soaring prices have a way of drawing out sellers and inventory always returns to the market to slow the ascent. It may not happen this month or next (market timing is for masochists), but it ultimately happens.
Don’t Get Caught in the Penalty Hype
Some mortgage advisors are pushing variable rates because, “If you ever wanted to sell in a pinch, the penalties to break a fixed rate can be steep.”
On its own, that’s a weak reason to go variable…if:
In such cases, the chances of paying a steep IRD penalty on a fixed mortgage are largely reduced. Far more concerning to an average borrower should be interest rate exposure, particularly as the economic recovery becomes entrenched.
This & That
Properties not appraising for prices paid in maniacal bidding wars could be “the next problem,” says this realtor.