Are these headlines familiar? “Household debts on the rise” or “Debt hits new high.” How about “Canadians’ debt soars into danger zone?”
At a time when Canadians are grappling with historically high household debt, upwards of 163 per cent according to Statistics Canada, young adults are feeling insecure about their knowledge of the financial implications of homeownership.
In a recent survey commissioned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), 70 per cent of Canadians between 18 and 29 indicated a “major need” for more information about the financial implications of buying a home. This figure is particularly meaningful as many in this age group are on the cusp of buying a home for the first time and need to make informed financial decisions about their future.
Homes are a major asset and for most Canadians represent the single largest financial investment of their lives and most buyers must finance their purchase using some form of credit. While homeownership can be a significant source of equity over the long term, Canadians need to remain vigilant about their finances about this critical decision. In fact, many homeowners with locked-in rates may not feel the impact of market fluctuations until their mortgage comes due for renewal.
Buying a home is always a big decision. Whether it is your first time, or your third or fourth, it is a big investment that warrants careful financial planning and consideration.
The Toronto Real Estate Boardrecognizes our 35,000 members have an important role to play. We are the homebuyers’ first line of contact and we need to use our knowledge and expertise of the home buying process to empower Canadians to make informed decisions.
November was Financial Literacy Month and realtors and their national association, CREA, worked with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to develop and provide a resource for Canadians to help them more easily understand and navigate the home-buying process.
The Homebuyers’ Road Map (available free at crea.ca) outlines the financial aspects of the home-buying process as well as the importance of negotiating with lenders and researching government programs. Our industry’s goal is to empower Canadians with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions about homeownership.
Ann Hannah is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The views expressed here are those of the president. For more information, go to TorontoRealEstateBoard.com. Follow on Twitter, on Facebook and YouTube.