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Mortgage Matters: Is balance returning to the housing market?

By KEVIN LUTZ for Vancouver Sun

For the first time in five years, it is no longer a sellers’ market, with Canadians reporting the housing market as balanced between buyers and sellers. The makeup of homebuyers has also seen a distinct change from the more traditional trend of buying with a partner/spouse. Today, almost as many homebuyers reveal that they need help and are purchasing or planning to purchase with their family (28 per cent), as those who say they can purchase solo (32 per cent), according to the latest annual RBC Home Ownership Poll.

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More Canadians are taking a non-traditional approach to buying a home

In fact, when compared to past years, buying a home with a partner or spouse has been steadily declining (42 per cent versus 49 per cent in 2017), while non-traditional trends, like purchasing a home alone (32 per cent versus 29 per cent in 2017), are climbing. “We’re seeing a fundamental contrast in who’s at the buying table,” says Nicole Wells, vice-president, Home Equity Financing, RBC. “There is a surge in confident, in-control solo home buyers and, on the polar opposite end, those who are saying they can’t do it alone and need the assistance of family.”

As Canadians are challenged with affordability, buying a home and living “house poor’ is or has been a reality for four in 10. Many Canadians tell us that being house poor may be a reality—but it doesn’t have to be. It may just require more effort or time to save more for a down payment. In fact, 47 per cent of survey respondents stated that they plan to put more than 15 per cent down (up 10 percentage points from 2018) and less than one in five (16 per cent) say they will put down only five per cent of the purchase price.

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