Home ownership has always been an important personal goal for most Canadians. Over 70 percent of Canadian families own their own home. A Statistics Canada survey shows that the single largest asset for the majority of Canadians is their principle residence. Research also shows that people who own their own home generally have a higher net worth than those who do not. Traditionally, home ownership is the foundation for long-term financial stability and security. Surveys by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation show that 35 percent of the homes sold in Canada were bought by first time buyers proving that home ownership is certainly a popular goal in the lives of Canadians. Of the homebuyers 25 percent were between the ages of 25 and 34, 28 percent were between the ages of 35 and 44, 19 percent were between 45 and 54 and 25 percent were over 55 years old. These numbers are very evenly spread out between the age groups indicating that home ownership is a priority to people of all ages.

Single detached homes are still the most popular choice with 50 percent of home sales falling into this category. Condominiums came in at 27 percent. Condominiums are identified with a more carefree lifestyle and are becoming an increasingly popular choice with empty nesters and young professionals. As a rule, yard maintenance, snow removal and sometimes exterior building maintenance are taken care of through the homeowner association monthly fee. Condominium units can be found in a variety of different styles including high rise, townhouse or single detached.

Typically buyers finance their purchase with a mortgage loan. Statistics Canada surveys show 54 percent of homeowners hold a mortgage on their home. Historically home prices rise at or above the rate of inflation and as time passes and the mortgage is being paid down, the equity in the home increases. As the equity in the home increases it also allows for the possibility of remortgaging to provide funds for home improvements or other endeavours.

When considering home ownership many factors must be taken into consideration. The choice is very personal and the criteria as individual as the homebuyer. Along with home ownership comes a feeling of personal pride and accomplishment. Often the purchase coincides with other major milestones like getting married, starting a family, securing a new job or retirement.

If you are considering purchasing your first home here are some questions to ask yourself. Are you at a point in your life where you are ready for homeownership? Are you ready to be grounded and committed for the long term? Do you qualify for a mortgage and if so how much? Schedule a meeting with a mortgage representative from your financial institution to gather valuable information and guidance. Do you have an understanding of all of the costs of home ownership such as, utilities, property taxes, maintenance costs and insurance requirements? Do you have access to funds for a down payment, closing costs and legal fees? If you are currently paying rent consider what the additional costs would be to own your own home. You may be surprised to find that the difference is less than you might expect.

Past generations purchased homes and stayed in that home for an entire lifetime. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for families to move multiple times throughout their lifetime because of career changes and changes in the needs and wants of a growing family.

It is reassuring for us in the homebuilding industry to know that home ownership is still an aspiration for many people and is an attainable goal for most Canadians.

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