Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fascinating report on first-time home buyers

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For many generations, there was an unwritten rule or pattern to first-home ownership.

You rented an apartment for a few years, all the while saving enough money to put a deposit down on a house. Then, when that magic percentage was realized and you qualified for CMHC financing, you found something that was quite basic and simple, a starter home that allowed you to start a family, start renovating and start saving for the next phase of home ownership.

After you built up adequate equity and the value increased commensurately, the options were yours. If you wanted to stay in the same neighbourhood as your current house or the house in which you were raised (a very Winnipeg pattern), you stepped up in the resale market, detailed to your agent exactly what you were looking for and waited for that dream home to become available.

If you wanted to create your own dream home and create your own legacy in your own new neighbourhood, you built a new home according to your own tastes and specifications, incorporating everything you wanted.

A month ago, BMO published a First Time Home Buyer's Report in which it looked at national and regional trends for those buying their first home. The results were fascinating.

On average, first-time buyers expect to be mortgage-free in 20 years with 20 per cent estimating it will take between 10 and 19 years. Over twice as many first-time buyers will lock into a fixed-rate mortgage as opposed to a variable rate. This is true even if the same people expect interest rates to stay the same for a five-year period.

Two-thirds of first-time buyers say the latest change in government-insured mortgages, from 30 years to 25 years, has not affected their buying timeline, whereas only 19 per cent have said they will have to wait a little longer. Over 60 per cent have made cutbacks to their lifestyle to save for their first home while only one in four expect parents or other family members to help them pay for their first home.

Finally, it is interesting to note that 59 per cent have had to hold off buying because of increasing house prices while the exact same percentage wish they had bought their first home five years ago, presumably because of increased home values.

Mike Moore is president of the Mantoba Home Builders' Association.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 4, 2013 F6

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