Canada’s first-time home buyers are exploring new ways to purchase

Maybe it’s the sky-rocketing home prices in key markets, but Canadians are saying sayonara to the traditional way of buying a home and are either going in alone or doubling up with friends or relatives.

A quarter of Canadians who’ve bought a home in the last two years made the significant financial move on their own, while four in ten Canadians believe purchasing a home with friends and family is a great way to access the housing market, according to a survey by TD.

Households comprising of single Canadians make up 27.6 per cent of all homes, according to Statistics Canada. And it looks like young, single women are dominating the solo route in Canadian cities. Women, especially those in their 20s, represent one-third of all condo sales in Montreal and Toronto, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper. Single women are more likely than men to be solo first-time home buyers thanks to changes in income levels and demographic shift, according to RBC’s 19th annual Homeownership Poll.

“Women are being more cautious than men, weighing cost, affordability and job security before buying a home,” Marcia Moffat, head of home equity financing for RBC, said in a recent release.

But there are those who are less comfortable making the investment without a safety net or financial support. Toronto resident Mike McCann went the non-traditional route, purchasing a property with multiple buyers because of the security it offered.

“For larger properties I would work within a partnership for financial reasons,” McCann says.

If you are buying alone or with a partner, many of the guiding principles that exist for traditional, nuclear families still apply. For instance, you need to know how much you are comfortable spending and what your budget will look like once home-associated costs are accounted for.

“Once homebuyers set their budget and down payment, they can take their prospective monthly mortgage payment for a test-drive and ‘pay’ into a TFSA or savings account,” says Michelle Snow, associate vice president, retail products at TD in a release.

“This two-fold solution allows the homebuyer to see how comfortable the monthly mortgage payment is before locking in, and save for a larger down payment at the same time. For co-purchasers, it opens the line of communication to talk about how these monthly payments will work after the purchase.”

Communication will be key in any alternative purchasing plan, especially when it comes to the purchase price, which is a motivating factor for pooling capital and seeking alternative home buying strategies in the first place.

“I think it is predominantly due to an increase in property prices and tighter lending requirements,” Snow says of the influx of co-purchasers.

For example, 96 per cent of Ontario-based home buyers consider the price of the home the most important factor when purchasing property, according to research from the Real Estate Council of Ontario. The national average purchase price for a single-family home in Canada now sits at $406, 372, which is a 10 per cent increase from the same month year-over-year (February), according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

From an ownership standpoint, buying a home by yourself or with a group isn’t necessarily better than what has been traditionally observed in the Canadian housing market says Chris Allen a Toronto-based realtor.

Then again “If you have the capital then absolutely go ahead and put it in your name and finance the property yourself or with your friends and family,” says Allen. “The trend with ‘team buying’ is a good thing if you’ve done your due diligence with your friend, you don’t want to get into a business relationship without nailing down all of the facts.”

Consider this before you buy a home with your group of besties: If you are buying a home there should be some legally-binding agreement that protects home buyers from one of the other members leaving the arrangement, cautions certified financial planner Margaret Richards.

“[Traditionally] if you are married there is family law to protect you,” says Richards.

Source: Haaruun Dhubat, Yahoo! Canada Finance

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