first time homebuyers toronto canada

Majority of Canada's first-time homebuyers worried they can't afford down payment

If you're a first-time homebuyer but aren't sure you have enough money to afford a down payment on your dream house, you're not alone.

According to Royal LePage's 2023 first-time homebuyer survey, prospective homeowners in Canada are increasingly worried they'll miss out on a home due to financial constraints.

The survey, conducted by Environics Research and released on Thursday, analyzed key trends among first-time homebuyers who bought a property within the last two years.

One of the key findings from the report is that 67 per cent of first-time homebuyers said that before buying, they worried they might miss out on the home they really wanted because of insufficient down payment.

That's a 10 per cent increase compared to the same survey question in 2019 (57 per cent).

When the same question was asked to those who intend to buy their first home in the next two years — 63 per cent reported feeling worried that they will miss out due to insufficient down payment.

"Canadians continue to face challenges in entering the real estate market, be it high interest rates, strict mortgage qualification standards, or difficulty saving enough money in a reasonable time period for a down payment," said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, in a statement.

"That first transaction is the most difficult, and in today's environment, first-time buyers are faced with large price tags, high carrying costs and the added challenge of qualifying for lending at higher rates due to the stress test."

According to the survey, that feeling has spread across the country in Canada's major cities.

In the Greater Toronto Area, 74 per cent of first-time homebuyers reported feeling anxious that they might miss out on buying their dream home because they can't afford a down payment.

In Vancouver, 71 per cent of Canadians feel the same way, a two per cent jump from survey results in 2021 (69 per cent).

Sixty-seven per cent of Montrealers also feel similarly, and in Calgary, 69 per cent of first-time homebuyers expressed their worry.

Despite this, Soper said Canadians persist in their goals towards homeownership.

"Still, they continue to prioritize homeownership and view it as a milestone worth achieving," he said. "With household savings still sitting above historical norms, due to accumulation during pandemic lockdowns, many Canadians will have a leg-up on their down payment when they are ready to enter the market."

However, due to the current state of the housing market, the Royal LePage survey found that 34 per cent of first-time homebuyers across Canada purchased a home in a more affordable neighbourhood or region than they had initially planned.

Thirty-two percent of survey respondents said they purchased a smaller home, and 11 per cent said they had to seek financial assistance from family or friends.

"While there may not be one direct path to homeownership that all first-time buyers take, many are willing to accept support and make concessions on their wish list in order to transact," said Soper.

"That may mean opting for a property in a more affordable area or with fewer bells and whistles. The goal is getting into the market and starting to build equity, not necessarily landing your dream home on the first try."

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Real Estate

Someone in Ontario is trying to sell a $2.7 million house using Weird Al Yankovic and ninjas

This gorgeous $5M Markham home nails the Frank Lloyd Wright look

Here's how much you need to earn to buy a home in Toronto right now

Breathtaking new medical school will completely transform Brampton landmark

Stunning new proposal unlike anything else in Toronto has people excited

Toronto landlord tries to rent out one-bedroom apartment to six people

Residents push back against luxury condo building coming to Toronto neighbourhood

Toronto house that feels like a fairy tale on sale for $5 million