Thursday, June 4, 2009

Report for Canadian First Time Home Buyers - by RE/MAX

First Time Home Buyers Report 2009 – RE/MAX Specialist

By Michael P, Executive VP and Regional Director for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. A great article that explains the latest in Canadian First Time Home Buyers Report, growing trends, government incentives and where the property deals are.

RE/MAX has just released its 2009 First Time Home Buyers Report. What were the most significant findings in this report?

The Canadian First Time Home Buyers Report 2009 by RE/MAX confirmed that first time homebuyers are now the engine driving Canadian home buying activity in virtually every major centre. Falling prices and rock bottom mortgage rates have been behind the push for entry level housing across the country. Market conditions across Canadian real estate markets have also helped, firmly favouring purchasers in 69 per cent of the centres surveyed, with another 31 per cent in balanced territory.

Are there any government incentives available for Canadian First Time Home Buyers?

Top of mind is the Federal Governments’ Home Buyers Plan – a plan that allows Canadian first time homebuyers to use RRSP funds tax-free to help purchaser their first home. Changes to the program outlined within the recent federal budget increased the withdrawal limit to $25,000 from $20,000 for the First Time Home Buyers Plan of Canada. The new First Time Home Buyers program, designed to help Canadians with closing costs, also provides a tax credit of up to $750. The Federal Government’s new $2.5 billion Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) program allows for a 15 per cent tax credit up to $1350 per household, on elgible renovation expenditures between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010.

Where are the Canadian property deals right now?

Just about every Canadian real estate market offers entry level product at an affordable price right now, but the RE/MAX report identified some key property Canadian markets offering single detached homes priced under $200,000 including Charlottetown, Halifax-Dartmouth, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Windsor, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Peterborough, North Bay, Kingston, London, Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

What are the advantages of a Home Buyers’ Market in Canada?

It’s been over a decade since home purchasers held the reigns in a Canadian real estate transaction. The recent surge in listing inventory, diminished demand, and softer housing values have firmly place Canadian home buyers in the drivers’ seat. Homebuyers in Canada have much more leverage in the Canadian marketplace and it will be vendors, not purchasers, who will have to adjust their expectations. Entry level first time purchasers will also have a better selection of properties from which to choose and the luxury of time in making those crucial home buying decisions.

What’s in store for residential Canadian real estate in markets across the country in the months ahead?

Although they ear got off to a slow start, February home sales were well ahead of those reported in January 2009. The upward trending is expected to continue as more and more first time Canadian home buyers enter the market in the weeks ahead. The flurry of activity in the lower end condos and units may also serve to kick start sales in the mid to upper end Canadian real estate markets, which have been relatively sluggish in recent months. While home inventory and days on market was up virtually across the board, it is noteworthy that several Canada real estate markets reported tighter conditions in the lower end of the property market, where demand and buyer activity remains quite healthy.

How have changing Canadian housing markets impacted buyer intentions?

While a sense of caution still prevails, more and more first time Canadian homebuyers are finding it hard to pass up the chance to become homeowners in today’s buyer-centric real estate climate. Improved Canadian housing affordability is prompting many first time home buyers to get off the fence, out of the rental, and into the property market. With lower starting prices and interest rates at historic levels, Canadian home buyers are finding the carrying costs of homeownership at their most affordable level in more than a decade.

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