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Mortgage Rates – How to protect yourself when they increase – Video message!

Heres a video I personally did on how to take a proative approach to protect and prepare yourself with rising interest rates in the future and save thousands of dollars! Click below to view video

Inflation Hedge Strategy - Learn to protect yourself from rising rates

Lisa Alentejano

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Could bonds pull mortgage rates down even more?

 

Could bonds pull mortgage rates down even more?Falling bond yields could spur a slight drop in medium-term residential mortgage rates this summer, but bargain-hungry consumers would be foolish to count on considerably cheaper borrowing costs, experts say.

About a month ago, banks blamed soaring bond yields for two sizeable hikes to key residential mortgage rates.

Those moves drove up posted rates on five-year fixed-rate loans by 60 basis points to 5.85 per cent.

While yields have reversed course in recent weeks, banks have yet to pass on those savings to consumers. Meanwhile, there are fresh signs of life in the housing market, fuelling increased demand for mortgages.

Some economists and rate strategists believe that yields could fall a bit further and speculate that mortgage rates might follow suit. But there are no guarantees and experts surmise those potential declines would be minimal at best.

Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, says banks will be more inclined to tweak their rates if yields continue heading south

“Typically, they want to be convinced that it is not a flash in the pan and that any retreat in yields is sustained,” he said.

“I believe that we are probably not too far away from that point. It might take a little more of a deeper rally (in bond prices) to make it completely convincing.”

Bond yields move inversely to prices. While variable-rate mortgages are largely influenced by the banks’ prime rates, conventional fixed-rate mortgages are linked to the bond market.

Banks generally try to match maturities when they finance mortgages with bonds. That means five-year mortgages are paired with five-year bonds.

Earlier this year, banks were confronted with a sharp spike in their own borrowing costs. Yields jumped after a flurry of better-than-expected economic data. At that time, traders were also focused on the threat of inflation as governments issued massive amounts of debt to stimulate growth.

Central banks usually try to control inflation by raising interest rates and the market was betting the U.S. Federal Reserve would hike rates this year.

That sentiment, however, has since soured.

Last week’s disappointing U.S. jobs report is among a string of more recent indicators that dampened earlier expectations of a snappy recovery.

The yield on the five-year Government of Canada bond peaked at 2.82 per cent on June 10. Yesterday, it closed at 2.39 per cent. Experts say it is impossible to predict how much lower it could go.

“I think most of the juice has been wrung from this move. I would still say the risk is that yields could fall a bit further, but I think we’re well past halfway,” said Eric Lascelles, a rates strategist at TD Securities.

Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s senior economist, thinks another 5 to 10 basis-point decline in yields is likely. He agrees that might cause mortgage rates to dip but believes the discounts will be minimal and short-lived. “By the end of the year, we’ll start seeing rates rising.”

Mark Chandler, a senior fixed-income analyst at RBC Capital Markets, stressed that other factors also influence mortgage rates, including higher demand and recession-driven risk premiums.

Even if rates don’t budge, they remain near historic lows, observed Jim Rawson, Toronto regional manager at mortgage brokerage Invis.

“I know that people are so rate-conscious these days, but really when it comes down to what (falling yields are) really going to mean for you on a monthly basis – it is really nothing

RITA TRICHUR Toronto Star

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Your line of credit just got jacked

Your line of credit just got jacked
Your line of credit just got jacked

What’s going on with your line of credit?

It is most likely rising, much to the chagrin of many Canadians who thought it would continue to track the Bank of Canada’s key benchmark rate, percentage point for point.

Edmonton machinist Neil Gordey found that out the hard way, when he got a notice last month that his line of credit was going from prime, up to prime plus one percentage point.

“Can they do this? After entering in to an agreement with them for a product at a decided rate, can they simply change the terms like they did?” asks Mr. Gordey, who had taken the remaining loan amount on his variable-rate mortgage and rolled it into a line of credit for better flexibility.

The answer to that is that it depends on your contract. But know this: The bank can change the rate and some have raised it on credit lines because their own cost of capital has gone up.

Some, such as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Bank of Montreal, have done just that. TD Canada Trust has chosen to “grandfather” customers whose rate was set before the credit crisis.

The good news is that with prime at 2.25%, customers with strong credit are still borrowing at 3.25% if their loan is secured by something such as a house. In the end, you might be better off because prime at most of the major banks was above 3.25% just seven months ago.

The outstanding loan amount on lines of credit has exploded over the past year, jumping by 20%. “I think consumers realize there is a deal out there that they might not be able to get later,” says Benjamin Tal, senior economist with CIBC World Markets.

Mr. Gordey is one of the unlucky ones because he had a variable-rate mortgage that was negotiated at .375 percentage points below prime, but he switched to the line of credit. Instead of borrowing money at just above 1.85%, his loan is now 3.25%.

The difference between the rules on a variable-rate mortgage versus a line of credit are subtle but important. Most consumers taking out a variable-rate mortgage agree to a term with the rate calculated based on prime. These days, that’s about 100 basis points above prime. Before the credit markets blew up, it was 60 basis points below prime.

“Historically, a lot of lines of credit have been priced right at prime,” says Gary Siegle, a mortgage broker and Calgary regional manager with Invis Inc. “The typical range has been from prime, to prime plus two [percentage points], depending on your credit.”

Mr. Siegle says credit lines are great for consumers because they operate like credit cards, but with nowhere near the same interest rates. And, unlike mortgages, you can opt to pay just the interest.

The downside? Most lines of credit are callable upon demand, even if you have not defaulted. Most mortgages are not. To keep this point in context, it is almost unheard of for a Canadian financial institution to call in a consumer line of credit that is not in default.

The major difference is your rate and the bank’s ability to change it on a line of credit versus a mortgage.

Variable-rate mortgages are tied to prime, which banks can set at any level they want. But the reality is, Ottawa has leaned on them to keep the prime rate moving in step with the Bank of Canada’s rate, regardless of the cost of debt. There were a few hiccups in the fall, but the banks played ball as rates have been lowered.

Lines of credit are a different story. At Bank of Montreal, they are calculated using what is called “the base rate,” which is a combination of the prime rate plus whatever discount or premium the bank is willing to offer customers.

Unlike consumers with variable-rate products, who have contracts that specify they get a certain discount off of prime, the rules on a credit line tend to be looser and allow the banks to raise your rate as their costs go up.

“Our base rate has been adjusted. All the banks have done it because of our cost of funds,” says Laura Parsons, area manager of specialized sales for Bank of Montreal in Calgary. “The base rate can move. It is prime plus something.”

The “something” is something to think about.

Dusty wallet Is your interest rate calculated on a daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis? It can make a difference in your effective interest rate. On a 4% mortgage, if interest is calculated daily, the effective rate is 4.0808%. If it’s calculated monthly, it’s 4.074%; quarterly, 4.06045%; and bi-annually, 4.04%. How your interest is calculated becomes a much bigger issue as you get into higher rates

Financial Post

Side note: We still have variable rate mortgage available between prime plus .40 and prime plus .60 so effective rate for your variable rate mortgage is between 2.65% and 2.85%.  Line of credits are a different type of credit vehicle and not for everyone, they do have some more flexibility with things such as interest only payments and if you need credit in the future your dont have to go back to the bank to access it.    Credit lines are priced at more of a premiume at prime plus 1% and higher today.

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Dont handcuff your mortgage

Dont handcuff your mortgage
Dont handcuff your mortgage

Would you like to pay an extra $300 per month on your mortgage? Not likely.

That hasn’t stopped a number of Canadians, with the deal of a lifetime on a variable-rate mortgage, from switching over to a more expensive fixed-rate product and paying the extra freight.

A fear of rising rates is driving the rash decision. But if you’ve finally managed to pin your banker to the ground, why on Earth would you let him off the mat?

More than 28% of Canadians have a variable-rate product tied to prime, according to the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). If you negotiated a deal before October of last year, chances are you are now borrowing money for as little as 1.35%. That’s based on deals that at one point saw the banks giving 90 basis points off prime. Prime is now 2.25%.

The average sale price of a home last month in Canada was $306,366. Based on a 25% downpayment and a 25-year amortization, your monthly payment would be $962.61 at 1.35%. Convert that to a five-year fixed-rate term and you’re probably going to have to consider a 4% mortgage rate and a monthly payment of $1,289.04.

Rates are rising fast. Most major banks upped their five-year rate by 40 basis points this week, although discounters were still offering 4% this past week.

“It’s not a mass rush yet, but we are starting to see … people locking in. But variable rates are still so good,” says Joan Dal Bianco, vice-president of real estate-secured lending, TD Canada Trust. She stops short of questioning why a consumer would pull out of these “deals” that are no longer available on the market.

Try to get a variable-rate mortgage today and the best you can probably hope to get is 60 basis points above prime, or 2.85%.

The landscape changed dramatically in October during the credit crunch. As the Bank of Canada lowered rates, the major banks reluctantly lowered prime because of the massive amount of customers with variable-rate products negotiated under the old, higher terms.

“Bonds yields are going up rapidly and people are starting to realize the rates are going to go up,” Ms. Dal Bianco says. Throw in the fact the Bank of Canada used the weasel word “conditional”(on inflation rates)when it promised not to raise rates until June, and you can understand why some people think today’s record-low prime rate might not hold.

But if you’re someplace between 60 to 90 basis points below prime, the rate is going to have to go up pretty fast to justify locking in today at 4%, even though that is just slightly above the all-time low hit last month for a five-year term.

“I don’t understand why you would lock in,” says Jim Murphy, chief executive of CAAMP. “Sure, if they start to rise, but [Bank of Canada governor Mark] Carney says they won’t rise, so you’ve got another year at that prime-minus rate.”

Don Lawby, chief executive of Century 21 Canada, says even when rates do start to increase, they are not going to jump significantly right away. You are not going to get 4% on a fixed rate again, but double-digit rates seem unlikely. “The only logic two locking in would be for someone very sensitive to any rate change and they just want to be secure,” Mr. Lawby says.

But at what price? If you’re using the “feeling secure” logic, why not go for the 10-year fixed-rate product? Rates on that product can be locked at 5.25%, ridiculously low by historical standards. Yet fewer than 10% of Canadians consider a 10-year product.

There are some compromises you can make. For starters, there is nothing to prevent consumers from having a blended mortgage at most Canadian banks. Some banks will let you take half your outstanding debt and lock it in. Diversity is preached for stock portfolios, but few people seem to adhere to the same philosophy when managing their debt.

Consumers might want to take their cue from business. Few companies would want all of their debt coming due at the same time — it presents too much risk. The other option is knocking down principal: Make payments based on a 4% rate and have that extra $300 go straight to your principal every month.

The bottom line is if you’ve got a deal on your mortgage, why would you give it back?

 

Gary Marr, Financial Post

Note: A variable rate mortgage  historically outperforms a fixed rate mortgage.  With a variable rate you hit some peeks and valleys when prime fluctuates but overall a better rate long term.  The question again is to ask yourself are you comfortable with fluctuating payments should prime rate increase.   Merix financial is offering prime plus .40% giving you a variable rate at 2.65% (prime rate at 2.25%), one of the most competitive variable rates out there currently in the marketplace.  Merix Financial is only accessed threw an approved mortgage broker.

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Riding the real estate roller coaster

Real estate roller coaster ride
Real estate roller coaster ride

Heather Harding and her husband, film editor Graham Withers, have been on the real estate sidelines looking for a home for the past 18 months. The Toronto couple, renters, started their search when the market was at the top and every home they looked at was “just too expensive.”

But now that prices are finally falling and affordability is increasing, there is another major stumbling block in their search: Job security.

“There just seems to be so much uncertainty. Prices in the range we have been looking at haven’t changed all that much, either,” said Mr. Withers.

“We keep waiting for the big housing crash,” said Ms. Harding.

They look to the situation in the United States and see prices dropping by as much as a third in value in many markets, but that hasn’t happened here.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said prices across the country in the first four months of 2009 were down 6.7% compared with a year ago.

“We are looking for more of a deal. And more stability. I work on contracts and my wife just changed jobs,” said Mr. Withers. “Unless we are going to get a deal, why would we introduce more uncertainty into our lives?”

That’s the real estate rub: Sales have stalled as vendors refuse to lower prices while buyers sit on the sidelines waiting for a deal after more than a decade of rising prices.

To be sure, the deals have finally begun to materialize, although not from plummeting prices. Rather, record-low interest rates, whether consumers are borrowing long-term or short, are a key factor in the new real estate affordability.

Consider a $300,000 mortgage. At the 3.75% rate some mortgage brokers claim they can get for a five-year closed mortgage, the monthly payment is $1,537.67, based on a 25-year amortization. A couple of years ago, when the rate was closer to 5.75%, the same mortgage would cost 22% more or $1,875.07 a month.

Cheap money, provided by government interested in the economic spin off of a booming housing industry, has created a classic economic battle. In one corner stands the real estate industry, trying to lure buyers with rates so low it is now cheaper to own than to rent. In the other corner is the skittish consumer who is too focused on job concerns to care how low interest rates go.

For the first time this decade, the Royal Bank of Canada’s Affordability Index, which measures the percentage of household income needed to carry a home, is actually declining.

“We’ve seen affordability improve across the board, but especially in some centres where it had deteriorated over the past few years,” said Robert Hogue, senior economist with RBC.

Vancouver is one example. At the market peak, almost 80% of pre-tax household income (based on the median household income in the city) was needed to carry a standard two-storey home. The index is based on a 25% down payment, a 25-year amortization and includes the costs of principal and interest, property taxes and utilities.

Vancouver’s affordability rating has improved to the 70% range, but so has job uncertainty, according to RBC. The decision to jump into Canada’s most expensive city for housing has not gotten any easier.

Nationwide, 43.7% of pre-tax household income is needed to carry a detached bungalow, a decline from 46.6% in the fourth quarter of 2007. When RBC releases its first quarter results later this month, that figure is expected to fall again. The all-time peak in Canada was 52.6% in 1990.

“Consumers still are not jumping into the market en masse because of concerns over job uncertainty,” says Mr. Hogue. “The job market continues to show losses. We are talking about a battle between confidence and affordability. This is likely to see-saw for some months ahead.”

The real estate industry is busy pumping out the statistics to back up the affordability argument. CREA and others in the industry point to three straight months of improving sales activity, adjusted for seasonality. April sales were 32% above the decade’s low point reached in January.

But the numbers still show very slow sales for 2009. April sales were off 9.2% from a year ago while sales for the first four months of 2009 were down 20.7% from a year earlier.

And there are some things low prices and next-to-nothing interest rates cannot fix.

In Windsor-Essex, ground zero for the Canadian auto industry, housing sales for the year were down 21% from a year ago, while the $152,856 average price of a home has sunk to the fourth lowest among the 25 urban centres CREA tracks.

“There are tons of homes up for sale,” said Rick LaPorte president of Canadian Auto Workers local 444 in Windsor. “My house has probably dropped $20,000, maybe $30,000, in the last three years. It’s a buyer’s market — as long as you have a job.”

Does he have any members buying in this market? “I don’t know many members who can purchase a home. I know many of them are trying to sell, get rid of their home,” said Mr. LaPorte. “If you have no way of paying for a mortgage, houses can be as cheap as you want.”

From the real estate industry’s perspective, first-time buyers have been the cement that has held this market together and all indications are that increased affordability has brought them back into the market.

A survey by Royal LePage last month found 86% of potential first-time buyers indicated that low interest rates were a key reason for buying a home. Lower housing prices was the second-biggest reason to purchase, with 81% of potential buyers citing that factor. But in that same survey, 76% of respondents listed job security as a major factor in their buying decision.

The results back up LePage president Phil Soper’s assertion that affordability trumps job security in this high-stakes game.

“While these consumers appreciate government incentives, such as tax credits, greater RSP deduction limits and rebates on home renovations, it is markedly improved affordability that is proving to be the powerful drawing card,” said Mr. Soper.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce senior economist Benjamin Tal has his own set of statistics. He say outstanding mortgage debt is rising 8.5% on a year-over-year basis, but the pace of borrowing continues to slow.

“That’s the real test of affordability. If affordability was the only measure, you would see mortgage activity accelerating,” said Mr. Tal. “Look at the U.S. market, it’s extremely affordable. But is anyone buying? If you have no confidence, you are not buying a house, even if interest rates are zero because you cannot afford the risk.”

Toronto appraiser Barry Lebow, of Lebow Hicks Ltd., said the Canadian real estate market has nowhere to go but down — no matter how much cheap money is thrown at consumers. These days he’s taking the conservative route when assessing the price of homes because he doesn’t want to face the wrath of a bank that has to foreclose on a house that was valued high and ends up selling for less than the mortgage placed on it.

“There are going to be tremendous changes in real estate… There are just not enough first-time buyers and the ones buying today, those people are not really buyers, You know what they are? They are renters of cheap money, variable-rate mortgages of 2.99%,” says Mr. Lebow.

“If mortgage rates were 8% to 9%, these people wouldn’t be buying. It’s an artificial market. One hiccup in the rates and it’s all gone.”

Gary Marr, Financial post

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Variable Rate comes down – first lender up to bat…

 

Merix Financial announced today that their 5 year variable rate mortgage will now be offered at prime plus .40%.  Most lenders still offer prime plus .60-.75%.  They are the first of any lender to offer this reduction.  This will now get you a rate of 2.65% (prime rate is currently 2.5%)

 

Merix Financials variable rate mortgage offers you the options to convert it to a fixed rate at any time and your guaranteed the best rate at the time of locking in!    Thats not something all lenders can brag about,  a few lenders dont offer the “best rate” at lock in so its important to talk to your mortgage broker about these details when considering a variable rate type product and when chosing your lender.

Once again, with rates like these if your considering refinancing a higher interest rate mortgage or want to consolidate some higher interest rate debt,  theres no time better than now!

Merix Financial offers an extensive line up of competivie mortgage products for both conventional and high ratio mortgages.   Along with competivie rates and mortgage terms they have 6 billion in assets under administration.

Merix Financial partners only with a select group of experienced originators and can only be accessed through an approved mortgage broker.

Merix Financial
Merix Financial
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Affordability and job security most important factors for first-time homebuyers

Canadian First Time Buyers
Canadian First Time Buyers

Canadians who are considering purchasing their first home are primarily motivated by lower home prices and very low interest rates, but some require confidence in the economy and their employment prospects before they will enter the market, according to a report released today by Royal LePage Real Estate Services. Eighty-six per cent of potential first-time buyers say low interest rates make them more likely to purchase a home; 81 per cent cite lower housing prices as a motivating factor; while 76 per cent cite job security and 64 per cent say a stable economy is an important factor in their decision to buy.

Potential buyers were asked to rank their top incentives for purchasing a first property. While home prices and interest rates took the number one and two rankings, respectively, the third most popular incentive was the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. The recently introduced Home Renovation tax Credit for 2009 was cited by 42 per cent of potential first-time buyers as either ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to impact their purchasing decision.

 “When first time buyers stepped out of the market in the fourth quarter of 2008, at the height of the global recession, their absence was profoundly felt. Without significant volumes of entry-level homes trading hands, the entire market limped through the winter months. First time buyers are back in force this spring, and with them the beginnings of a market recovery. While these consumers appreciate government incentives such as tax credits, greater RSP deduction limits and rebates on home renovations, it is markedly improved affordability that is proving to be the powerful drawing card,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “Our survey demonstrates how important affordability factors such as interest rates and house prices are in stimulating demand.”

Across the country, potential first-time homebuyers agreed that affordability was their top onsideration, however the survey also revealed differences amongst buyers in various regions of Canada.  In provinces such as British Columbia where high housing prices have kept some buyers out of the market in recent years, 92 per cent of potential first-time buyers are now motivated by low interest rates and 96 per cent say lower home prices are likely to prompt them to buy.

In Atlantic Canada, where local economies have been resilient in the face of a worldwide recession and housing markets remain stable, 43 per cent of first-time buyers say they that job security is a factor in their decision to buy, while 84 per cent of buyers in British Columbia and Alberta said job security will influence them.      Atlantic Canadians were less motivated than other Canadians by declining
interest rates, with only 72 per cent saying it will likely prompt a buying decision, compared to 86 per cent of Canadians overall. Buyers in Ontario and Quebec rated the Home Renovation Tax Credit as a bigger factor in their buying decision, compared to the Canadian average.  Mr Soper continued, “The significant response differences from region to region show how closely the residential real estate market is tied to broader economic trends and consumer confidence. Buying your first home is a major life decision, and people are more likely to purchase a home if they feel comfortable about the state of the economy and confident that they will have a job to support their new mortgage obligation.”

 Top Incentives for First-Time Buyers Across Canada

Potential first-time buyers were asked to choose their number one  incentive for purchasing a first property. The table shows the percentage  of respondents who selected each factor as their top incentive.

————————————————————————-
                              BC &
                 Overall Territories Alberta Prairies Ontario Quebec Atlantic
    ————————————————————————-
    Lower Housing
     Prices         33%        49%      48%      55%    32%      13%      26%
    ————————————————————————-
    Low Interest
     Rates          27%        32%      29%       4%    23%      41%      17%
    ————————————————————————-
    First-Time Home
     Buyers’ Tax
     Credit         12%         3%      10%      22%    15%      11%      10%
    ————————————————————————-
    Job Security    10%         6%       5%       2%    10%      16%      15%
    ————————————————————————-
    Additional
     Government
     Actions to
     Stabilize
     Housing                           less                             less
     Markets         3%         3%  than 1%      10%     3%       4%  than 1%
    ————————————————————————-
    Home Renovation                    less
     Tax Credit      2%         1%  than 1%       1%     1%       3%      11%
    ————————————————————————-
    Stable                             less     less                    less
     Economy         2%         2%  than 1%  than 1%     3%       2%  than 1%
    ————————————————————————-
    Greater RSP
     Deduction                less             less                     less
     Limits          1%    than 1%       1%  than 1%     1%       1%  than 1%
    ————————————————————————-
    Stable
     Financial     less       less     less     less            less     less
     Markets    than 1%    than 1%  than 1%  than 1%     1%  than 1%  than 1%
    ————————————————————————-

     REGIONAL SUMMARIES

    Atlantic

Overall activity in the housing market has remained steady in the Atlantic region with first-time homebuyers continuing to enter the market. Low interest rates and recent government incentives, such as the Home Renovation Tax Credit, greater RSP deduction limits and the First-Time Homebuyer’s Tax
Credit speak to affordability. Buyers in this area are entering the market that would not have a few years ago, due to these influencing factors.  Entry-level buyers in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continue to search for detached bungalows, with the average price
ranging from $157,000 in Charlottetown to $215,667 in Halifax during the first quarter of 2009.

    Quebec

    First-time buyers continue to pursue the dream of home ownership in Montreal, as the number of entrants to the housing market has remained relatively stable. Low interest rates are contributing to increased market entry with 41 per cent of first-time buyers suggesting this is the key
incentive driving the purchase of their first property, followed by 13 per cent who suggest lower housing prices might influence their buying decision. With 47 per cent of new buyers in Quebec planning to settle in urban areas, buyers are planning to invest and live in their first home for ten or more
years. Fifty-six per cent of first-time buyers hope to purchase a property in the $150,000 to $300,000 price range.

    Ontario

    Encouraged by recent government initiatives, home ownership in Ontario is becoming a reality for an increasing number of younger purchasers. Across Ontario, 36 per cent of potential first-time buyers are most likely to purchase property in an urban setting. Condominiums continue to attract first-time buyers in the Greater Toronto Area with urban communities at accessible price points appealing most to market newcomers. In addition to affordability, location is a leading factor dictating condominium appeal.
Neighbourhoods in Toronto’s east and west downtown core are popular with first-time buyers. In Ottawa, affordability continues to drive activity and most first-time buyers are opting to purchase in suburban areas where properties typically cost $50,000 to $75,000 less than in the city centre. Active first-time buyer markets include Orleans, Barrhaven and Kanata.

    Manitoba & Saskatchewan

    Thirty per cent of Prairie buyers planning on purchasing their first home in the next three years will choose a detached bungalow. The second-most popular choice for first-time buyers is condominiums at 21 per cent, followed by detached two-story homes at 15 per cent. In Winnipeg, up-and-coming
neighbourhoods for first-time buyers include River Heights – which has traditionally been attractive for people entering the market – Fraser’s Grove and East / North Caldonin. With a good selection of older bungalows and two story homes, Broders Annex is the hottest neighbourhood for first-time buyers
in Regina.

    Alberta

    Alberta’s urban centres continue to be popular with first-time buyers, who make up nearly a third of home sales in both Calgary and Edmonton. Condominiums and detached bungalows are the most popular choices for first-time buyers in Edmonton, where lower housing prices and low interest rates are the biggest incentives for buyers entering the market for the first time. Popular areas for new buyers include the suburbs, where a new condominium may be within budget, the university area, where many parents are buying for their kids, Allendale and McKernan. In Calgary, new buyers are most interested in inner city condominiums and detached houses in the suburbs, with many seeking new or renovated homes.

    British Columbia

    With home prices either flat or declining in many communities in British Columbia and with interest rates at record lows, first-time buyers are taking advantage of greater affordability, with female buyers leading the trend. Sixty per cent of the buyers getting into BC’s housing market for the first time are women. In British Columbia, 40 per cent of prospective first-time buyers intend to purchase a ‘fixer-upper’ while 80 per cent would take advantage of the Federal Government’s Home Renovation Tax Credit in making upgrades to a home. First-time buyers in Vancouver are favouring condominiums and townhomes, however an increasing number of entry-level buyers are finding affordable detached homes outside the city in the Fraser Valley suburbs.

  The survey portion of the Royal LePage First-Time Homebuyers’ Report was conducted by Pollara from April 29, 2009 to May 8, 2009 among 474 first-time homebuyers in Canada. The online survey was conducted among a randomly-selected sample of 474 adult Canadians who are likely to purchase
their first home in the next 3 years. A probability sample of this size with a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 %, 19 times out of 20. The data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects the actual Canadian population
according to the most recent Census data.

Author- Lisa Alentejano
Author- Lisa Alentejano

CNW News