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BMO Fall Home-Buying Report: Nearly Half of Prospective Buyers Increase Price to $483,397 and Shift to Semi-Detached

- Four in ten buyers have increased their price point by 21 per cent

- Preference for condos and detached houses fall, as semi-detached rises

- Ontario, B.C. and Alberta expect to spend more than national average

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2014) - Four in ten house hunters (43 per cent) now expect to spend 21 per cent more on a new home - an increase of $83,556 - from when they first started looking, according to the BMO Fall Home-Buying Report released today.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, revealed the top contributors to house-hunters increasing their price point:

  • The majority (86 per cent) say housing prices have risen since they first started looking
  • Eight in ten (81 per cent) now have a better understanding of current prices
  • Over half (56 per cent) were able to save more for a down payment

Only 5 per cent of potential home-buyers have decreased their price range since they began searching for a new home.

"Housing prices in Canada have risen 18 per cent over the past four years," said Martin Nel, Vice President of Personal Banking Products, BMO Bank of Montreal. "As prices rise, house-hunters need to ensure their savings are keeping pace, especially first time buyers who don't have the leverage of a current house in the market."

Major City Buyers' Increase in Price Point
Major Cities
Toronto Montreal Calgary Vancouver
Percentage of house-hunters who have increased amount expected to spend: 57 % 37 % 47 % 47 %
Most expected to spend: $ 634,745 $ 337,799 $ 568,458 $ 573,333
Increased amount by: 20%
) 17%
) 19%
) 16%
  • The majority (57 per cent) of house-hunters in Toronto have increased their price point
  • Toronto buyers expect to spend the most in Canada, and have the highest increase in price point of the major cities
Regional Buyers' Increase in Price Point
Percentage of house-hunters who have increased amount expected to spend: 32 % 29 % 51 % 44 % 44 % 42 %
Most expected to spend: $ 298,194 $ 329,406 $ 535,592 $ 447,460 $ 499,760 $ 514,370
Increased amount by: 32%
) 17%
) 21%
) 24%
) 20%
) 19%
  • While Ontario home-buyers expect to spend the most of any province, Atlantic buyers have the highest increase in price point at 32 per cent
  • Buyers in the Prairies had a 24 per cent increase from their original price point

Preference Shifts with Semi-Detached as Top Choice

The majority (55 per cent) of potential home-buyers have had to consider additional housing options or eliminate their first choice, citing reasons of cost, availability, and concerns surrounding the condo market. For those who eventually changed their preference or started considering more options, condos and detached houses were originally the most popular type of home being considered; semi-detached and townhouses are now the leading options.

"By shifting toward semis and townhomes and away from detached and condos, buyers appear to want their cake and eat it too - a backyard for the kids to play in, but also something that won't break the budget, notably in Vancouver and Toronto," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

Shifting Preference
Type of Home 55 per cent Originally
Considered Buying
55 per cent Now
Condo 35% 21%
Townhouse 25% 26%
Semi-detached house 20% 38%
Detached house 51% 22%
  • Three quarters (76 per cent) of buyers are concerned the condo market is overdeveloped and that a condo will not hold its value compared to a detached, semi-detached, or townhouse
  • Two thirds (61 per cent) had to consider additional options after seeing what was available in their first choice
  • Eight in ten would opt for a detached, semi-detached, or townhouse over a condo, if they found one in their price range

"When assessing whether or not a new home is financially realistic, it's important to consider that housing costs - including mortgage payments, utilities and taxes - should not take up more than one third of your total household income," said Mr. Nel. "Choosing a 5 year fixed low-rate mortgage with a maximum 25 year amortization helps home owners to pay their mortgage off faster and save in interest over the long term."

The BMO Fall Home-Buying Survey which was conducted by Pollara between September 10th and 15th, 2014, with an online sample of 1,005 adult Canadians, who are likely to purchase a new home within the next five years. Data has been weighted using past home buyer research to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample size of 1,005 is ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets exceeding $586 billion and approximately 47,000 employees at July 31, 2014.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Kathleen Savage, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Twitter: @BMOmedia

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