No regrets for first time homebuyers

home ownershipPerhaps you are one of those people thinking long and hard about buying your first home. It’s a major decision. You can take comfort in knowing that about 280,000 people in Canada make the decision to buy their first home every year, according to a recent survey by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). It’s never too late to take the plunge either. Every year, almost 30,000 Canadians age 55 or older buy their first home!

The CAAMP survey asked what factors prompted them to buy a home, and 51 per cent of first time homebuyers said “to stop renting.” Other top factors influencing first time homebuyers were to build equity (and take advantage of price growth and appreciation), and to experience the pride of ownership.

It’s hard to describe the satisfaction that home ownership brings, but I suggest you experience it yourself.

If you’re young and waiting for the market to cool, you might end up being a senior citizen first-time buyer, like some of the folks I referenced earlier.

The majority of first time homebuyers surveyed by CAAMP had no regrets about taking on the size of mortgage they did. Just 14 per cent of these buyers had ‘significant’ or ‘a great deal’ of regret with their household financial obligations. The majority of respondents feel that real estate in Canada is a good long-term investment, and that mortgages are good debt.

If you’re secure with your job and you have a nice nest egg saved, I’d recommend starting out with a condominium. About 120,000 people a year in Canada make the choice to purchase a condominium apartment. Half of them are first time homebuyers.

The CAAMP survey also showed that first time homebuyers were not willing to compromise on their home’s proximity to amenities and its setting. Interestingly, many more buyers compromised on size. This will continue to be a big trend among folks looking for their first downtown highrise. In my opinion, they will concentrate more on what their immediate community can offer, like great shopping, bars, coffee houses, entertainment, parks and transit, and less on the square footage of their suite.

I can spew all the stats in the world, but some people just can’t wrap their heads around the pricing and their perceived risk in owning.

I would suggest talking to your peers who have bought a home, discussing your situation with a realtor and a mortgage broker, and reading up on some of the misconceptions about the market on the Fortress Real Developments’ blog.

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