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July 29, 2014

Ontarians recognize importance of budgeting before buying a home, new research shows

Ontarians planning to buy a home in the next two years say they will create a budget to help save for a down-payment (40%), followed by cut costs (36%) and earn more money (36%), according to new research from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).  Released in July, The Ontario Home Ownership Index, a semi-annual province-wide research study commissioned by OREA and conducted by Ipsos Reid, reflects on Ontarians’ outlook of the residential real estate market, their real estate plans and market trends.

“The home buying process begins with a long hard look at one’s finances and knowing what you can afford – any real estate expert would agree with that,” says Costa Poulopoulos, president, OREA. “The fact that creating a budget came out on top shows that financial preparedness is important to buyers; it’s one element that is mandatory when buying a home.”

Interestingly, only six per cent of respondents said they would rely on gifts or contributions from family to buy a home. Nearly a third of Ontarians said they would sell, or borrow against, other real estate they owned (30%), and almost a quarter (23%) said they would invest in savings or RRSPs to save for their down-payment. Saving strategies differed among types of buyers:
  • Two-thirds (67%) of first-time home buyers said they would create a budget, compared to only 29% of repeat home buyers
  • Half of first-time buyers (54%) and only a third (29%) of repeat buyers said they would cut costs or delay spending
  • The majority of Generation Y respondents (54%) said they would create a budget whereas only 19% of Baby Boomers said the same
  • Only a quarter (26%) of Baby Boomers and 44% of Gen Y said they would cut costs

“Down-payment saving strategies depend on the buyer – one’s lifestyle, experience with real estate and often their stage-in-life, dictates which strategies will be most effective,” says Poulopoulos. “However, regardless of age or experience, home ownership is one of the biggest financial commitments most people will make in their lives; it takes proper planning to do it right.”

Realtor insights & expert advice

Recently, OREA asked its members – Ontario Realtors – about their impressions of first-time home buyers’ financial preparedness. Three in four (75%) Ontario Realtors found that first-time home buyers tend to do their research and are prepared when entering the home buying process. When asked for their advice, Ontario Realtors recommended prospective home buyers figure out their financial situation prior to determining their housing/neighbourhood preferences. Specifically, they recommended:
  • Calculating how much they can afford (89% of Realtors ranked this as a first or second priority for prospective home buyers) and speaking to a mortgage lender/arranging a mortgage (82%)
  • Determining the kind of home they want and the neighbourhood they want to live in (ranked as third and fourth priorities among 84% and 87% of Realtors respectively)

“Buyers who enter the home buying process financially prepared always fare better in the end,” says Poulopoulos. “Establishing realistic expectations at the outset is key to home ownership.”

Additional findings from The Ontario Home Ownership Index

Various factors play into the home buying and selling decision which The Ontario Home Ownership Index intends to explore over time. These were some of the findings from the spring 2014 research wave:

  • 10% of Ontarians say they are ‘very likely’ to purchase a home within the next two years
  • 14% of Ontarians say they are ‘very likely’ to sell a home within the next two years
  • A majority of Ontarians (57%) believe the provincial real estate market is ‘favourable’; 20% say it is ‘unfavourable’
  • 82% of Ontarians agree that real estate is a good investment
  • 84% of Ontario residents think it makes more sense to own a home rather than rent over the long-term
  • Ontarians ranked long-term investment value (29%), affordability/availability of homes (26%) and desire to own a home of my own (26%) as their top three reasons for a home purchase


These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between May 20th to 23rd, 2014 on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association. For this survey, a sample of 1,080 Ontarians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/-3.4 percentage points had all adults in Ontario been surveyed. 

Findings are also shown from a poll conducted among Ontario REALTORS® between April 10th to 27th, 2014 on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association. For this survey, a sample of 1,088 members of OREA’s online research panel was interviewed online. The panel is designed to be reflective of OREA’s overall member population.

About The Ontario Home Ownership Index

The Ontario Home Ownership Index is designed to reflect Ontarians’ overall views of the residential real estate market in Ontario, and incorporates measures such as Ontarians’ perceptions of whether the market in their neighbourhood, city, and Ontario, respectively, have improved or worsened in the last year and looking ahead into the future, whether home ownership is important to them and whether it is a good investment in the long-term. The first wave of the index, conducted in the fall 2013, was set to a baseline of 100 points. A rise to 108 this spring reflects an overall improvement in sentiment of 8% in the index since the fall.

About the Ontario Real Estate Association

The Ontario Real Estate Association represents over 58,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 40 real estate boards throughout the province. OREA serves its REALTOR® members through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy, and other services. www.OREA.com

For more information contact:

Katarina Markovinovic-Praljak

Head of Communications & Media Relations


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