Point2 Homes recently published an interesting piece about the Canadian and the American housing markets post-recession. It compared their evolution in the past decade. It found that the average Canadian is currently looking at home prices 56% higher but has an income only 15% larger. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the median income per household increased by 18%, while home prices went up by 24%.
Has the rising cost of homeownership got you discouraged? If you’re looking to buy a home in a big city like Toronto or Vancouver, even buying with the minimum 5% down (on homes under $500K) can be challenging. (The new mortgage stress test and higher interest rates haven’ t helped.)
Despite higher home prices, Canadians haven’t given up. Surveys consistently show that we still view owning a home as a good long-term investment.
So how do you afford to buy a home in those pricier housing markets? Here are 3 creative ways to get into the housing market.
1. Buying with Family and Friends
Are you having trouble qualifying for a mortgage on your own? You don’t have to buy a home with a romantic partner. Homebuyers are increasingly turning to family and friends. If you know a family member or trusted friends who also aspires to own a home, why not pool your financial resources together? With two incomes and two down payments, it makes it a lot easier to qualify to buy a home in a decent neighbour. (But if you decided to go this route, just make sure you have a written agreement when someone wants to sell to avoid any hurt feelings or nasty surprises.)
Besides your income and down payment, lenders also care about your credit score. Building and maintaining a good credit score can go a long way. If you have a credit score of at least 700, it makes it a lot easier to shop around for a prime lender like the banks and credit unions and get a decent mortgage rate. This in turn can save you big bucks over the life of your mortgage and help you reach mortgage freedom years sooner.
2. Purchasing a Home in a Satellite City and Renting in the Big City
Not too keen buying with your bestie? Another option is purchasing a home in a satellite city and renting in the big city. This is increasingly common in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where buying just the average priced home can set you back some serious change. By buying in a more affordable market, you can get your foot in the door of the real estate market and start building up equity. Look for an area that has some room to grow in terms of price appreciation. And don’t just leave it vacant, consider renting it out (this ties into my next tip). That way, when you’re ready to buy in the big city, hopefully the equity in your rental property will be enough to cover your down payment there.
The fifth and final creative way to get into the housing market is rent-to-own. With rent-to-own, you typically pay a small down payment and a slightly higher-than-average monthly rent. After two or three years, the forced savings from the above-market rent can be used towards the down payment of the unit you’re living in. The landlord makes money and you’re able to own the walls you live in — everyone wins!
Note: This piece was written and edited by me with support from Point2 Homes.
Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians, available now on Amazon and at Chapters, Indigo and major bookstores, and as an Audiobook on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.