Buying and selling a home comes with a lot of questions. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

COVID-19 is reshaping what first-time homebuyers are looking for: BMO survey

Still, 40 per cent of potential first-time home owners think now is a good time to buy

The pandemic has reshaped the needs of first-time homebuyers in Canada but COVID-19 isn’t causing too much hesitation in buying, a Bank of Montreal report suggests.

According to results from a recent survey, conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, found that the average first-time home buyer is looking to spend about $432,000 with more than 40 per cent of the 801 adults polled saying they believe now is a good time to buy.

Broken down by province, that stat increases to 60 per cent in Alberta and the Prairies while dropping to 33 per cent in Ontario and B.C. where prices have stayed relatively status quo through the pandemic.

The biggest impact COVID-19 has had on the market among aspiring home owners is the type of property looking to be purchased, the survey found.

Twenty nine per cent of those surveyed said they’re changing their search from a major city to the suburbs or a rural area. As well, with working from home becoming more prevalent, a quarter of respondents said they’re moving their search away from a condo or townhome to a detached home.

Hassan Pirnia, head of personal lending and home financing for BMO, says it is encouraging to see Canadians maintaining their optimism in the housing market.

“While many buyers are viewing the market favourably, households are facing stronger headwinds than they have in the recent past,” Pirnia said. “As buyers look to enter the market, we should expect to see a continued trend where they are exploring different financial options to help with the purchase.”

The size of the mortgage first-time buyers are looking to take out has also been influenced by COVID, the survey found.

About half of buyers have had to tap into their down payments to help cover unexpected costs over the last several months, BMO said. A quarter of first-time homebuyers have said that they will have to take out a larger mortgage – with Ontario and B.C. buyers saying they more the most likely to opt for mortgages at 30 and 26 per cent, respectively.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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