Some good news, some bad news, and some food for thought.
We were looking forward to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) releasing their 2021 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results, and it’s finally here!
We know lots of you may be considering purchasing a home, renewing a mortgage, or refinancing an existing mortgage, so we thought this information might be interesting to you. Here’s a rundown of the key findings.
What’s the Mortgage Consumer Survey?
This survey is carried out annually by CMHC. This year, CMHC surveyed 3,502 regular Canadians who were recent mortgage customers. The intention of the report is to monitor for trends in consumer sentiment, and to observe how consumer purchasing power may have changed.
This year, naturally, CMHC also considered the impact of COVID-19 on buyers, and looked for awareness of Canada’s First Time Home Buyers Incentive program.
This survey is cool for us to have because it helps us serve our mortgage customers better. It’s cool for you because it gives an idea of what other Canadians are thinking about the home buying process. So let’s get into some details.
COVID-19 and Mortgage Habits
Colour us genuinely surprised: there was “little impact of COVID-19 on housing needs”.
“A whopping 84% of mortgage consumers indicated no change to their housing needs because of COVID-19. A mere 14% indicated their housing needs had changed and 2% didn’t know,” reports the CMHC.
When it came to making mortgage payments during the pandemic, 85% indicated they had no difficulties in maintaining the schedule of their mortgage payments. That’s really good news!
66% of buyers said the pandemic didn’t impact their purchasing timeline; 25% actually bought sooner than they expected. Only 9% of respondents were delayed in buying a home because of the pandemic.
There was one big change, however: 40% of respondents reported that the pandemic impacted their purchase decision as it pertained to the location of the home. While the CMHC doesn’t specify further, we can guess that remote working opportunities meaningfully widened the locations buyers considered.
The pandemic was (and still is) a very difficult time for many Canadians, so we were surprised to see that most Canadians agreed with the following statements:
- 81% are confident that their home will remain a good investment in the future
- 81% consider the purchase of their home a good investment in spite of the pandemic and uncertain housing market
- 76% believe they purchased their home at a good time, in spite of the pandemic
However, it’s also possible that the people able to purchase a home belong to demographics that weren’t severely impacted by wage cuts or layoffs.
It’s entirely possible that renters are in more precarious employment or financial positions.
Those that didn’t buy in the pandemic—despite perhaps having wanted to—aren’t represented in this survey. Only time will tell how the pandemic truly impacted the finances and home owning aspirations of all Canadians.
Preparing to Buy a Home in Canada
The survey revealed other interesting trends in the experiences of buyers, refinancers, and renewers. This info could help you prepare for the realities of buying a home in Canada.
Homes Are Selling Above List Price
CMHC reported that “49% of buyers paid what they had planned to pay.” They went on to clarify that “this was particularly true for repeat buyers as 52% paid what they had planned, and 60% of buyers 65 and older paid what they had planned.”
Meanwhile, 27% paid more than they had planned, and 20% paid less than planned.
About one third of buyers (31%) were involved in a bidding war, and 66% of those folks found it a frustrating and confusing system.
And lastly, about half of respondents thought they paid too much over and above list price.
So in terms of staying on budget, it’s a pretty mixed bag. It’s best to know your max price and stick to it, watching for unexpected costs, and know when to walk away.
Young Canadians are Concerned About Buying a Home
Perhaps unsurprisingly, CMHC reported that “younger and first-time buyers are more likely to feel concerns or uncertainty.”
Yeah, we’re a nervous bunch. And us nervous folks, well, we’re nervous about a lot:
Data showed that 54% of respondents were concerned about paying too much, and 41% indicated that searching for and finding the right home were the main causes of concern. Respondents also indicated other concerns:
- 40% indicated they were worried about unforeseen housing costs
- 36% were concerned about living with post home buying costs
- 36% said home maintenance
- 27% had concerns about interest rate increases
- 27% specified qualifying for a mortgage
- 27% were concerned about getting a mortgage that met their financial needs
- 27% indicated possible changes in their personal life
And that’s not even the whole list. If you’re nervous, speak with your real estate agent or broker to get a real, honest take on what you might encounter.
Most Believe Home Ownership is a Good Investment
Over the years, the housing market in Canada has become stronger. As a result, a whopping 85% of CMHC respondents believe that home ownership is a good investment.
This surety is based not only on the performance on the housing market, but on a confidence in the respondents’ own financial ability.
- 82% had a good understanding of the amount of mortgage they could afford before they purchased
- 81% feel confident that they have the necessary tools and information to manage their mortgage and debt load
- 78% are confident that they got the best mortgage deal for their needs
- 77% are, in general, comfortable with their current level of mortgage debt
This data wasn’t broken down by demographic, so we don't know if these responses hold consistent across all age ranges, for example. But such overwhelmingly affirmative responses are encouraging.
Ready to Buy? MogoMortgage Can Help
With all this in mind, it actually seems like it could be a pretty okay time to buy. Ultimately, if owning a home is your goal, you’ll do what you can to make it happen.
In 2020, a new annual record of 551,392 homes were sold in Canada. When you’re looking to buy a home, you shouldn’t go it alone. That’s where our MogoMortgage team comes in.
You can apply quickly and easily through our website. Our team will walk you through everything at each step of the process, answer all of your burning questions, and help you find the perfect mortgage for you.
(Plus, once you’re funded, you can track your mortgage repayment through our very sleek web based dashboard. Just saying!)
Don’t hesitate to reach out. Buying a home can be so stressful, and we don’t think it should be. With the right support and the right information (that’s our job!), you could be well on your way to buying, refinancing, or renewing your mortgage in no time.
Get in touch today! 🏡
This blog is provided for informational purposes only, isn’t intended as real estate or mortgage advice, and isn’t meant to suggest a particular real estate investment or mortgage product is suitable for any particular individual. If you’re unsure about a real estate or mortgage decision, you may wish to obtain advice from a qualified professional.
1-To apply for any Mogo product, you must open a MogoAccount and pass identity verification. The MogoAccount is currently only available to individuals in BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, NB, NS, PE, NL, YT, NT and NU. who have reached the age of majority in their province of residence. The MogoMortgage application is currently only available to MogoMembers in BC, AB, MB, ON, NB, NS, PE and NL that have met our underwriting requirements. MogoMortgage is offered by Mogo Mortgage Technology Inc. o/a MogoMortgage, a mortgage brokerage (Ontario: FSCO License No. 12836).