First-time homebuyers in Vancouver B.C. increasingly anxious over insufficient down payments

First-time homebuyers in B.C. increasingly anxious over insufficient down payments

In B.C., 71 per cent of first-time buyers expressed concern their downpayment will fall short of getting them the home they want compared to 56 per cent two years ago.

A Royal LePage real estate sign is marked "Sold" in front of a house in Ottawa.A Royal LePage real estate sign is marked "Sold" in front of a house in Ottawa. PHOTO BY CHRIS WATTIE /REUTERS

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Canadian first-time buyers in an ever-intensifying housing market are increasingly worried about missing out on a property because they can’t make the down payment, according to a new survey.

The survey, released Friday by Royal LePage and residential mortgage insurance provider Sagen, found first-time homebuyers across Canada, except for Alberta and the Prairies, reported higher levels of anxiety compared with 2019.

In B.C., 71 per cent of first-time buyers expressed concern that their down payment will fall short of getting them the home they wanted compared with 56 per cent two years ago.

First-time buyers in Vancouver weren’t far behind, with 69 per cent reporting feeling worried that an insufficient down payment might cause them to miss out on buying a home — higher than the national average of 62 per cent, and 11 points higher than in 2019.

“The hurdle causing anxiety for first-time homebuyers is saving for a down payment in an environment of rising home prices in many parts of the country,” said Stuart Levings, president and CEO of Sagen, in a news release. “While some have parents who can step in, many do not and they are struggling to get into the market.”


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The survey found 25 per cent of respondents said they lived with parents or relatives before buying their first home. This figure is higher for Vancouver respondents, at 31 per cent, and B.C., at 28 per cent.

About half of those who lived with family paid rent. Among those who lived with their parents before buying their first home, 15 per cent said their living at home caused their parents to delay downsizing plans.

The federal First-time Home Buyer Incentive recently increased its income threshold from $120,000 to $150,000 in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria in an effort to give first-time buyers in these three cities a better shot at entering the market.

Related:Here’s what a $1 million home looks like in Metro Vancouver

Despite the pressure and anxiety that comes with buying a home, there is still a strong appetite to enter the market, said Adil Dinani of Royal LePage West Real Estate Services.

Condos are popular for first-time homebuyers. And the pandemic, which allows for remote working, has prompted some first-time buyers to look beyond Metro, said Dinani. Kelowna and other parts of the Okanagan have seen strong demand.

The survey, completed by Environics Research, interviewed 909 Canadians aged between 25 and 40 who had bought their first home within the last two years. The online interviews were conducted in February and March.


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