If you’ve ever wondered how first-time buyers are affording ever-bigger down payments, BMO may have the answer: parental assistance.
BMO’s 2015 Home Buying Report found that 4 in 10 (42%) of first-time buyers are relying on their parents or other family members to pitch in for a down payment. And this reliance is increasing along with home prices. It’s up 12 percentage points from last year and 15 percentage points from 2013.
On average, first-time buyers now plan to spend $312,700 on their first dwelling. That’s 29% less than the national average home price and it reflects about a $1,400 a month payment with 5% down.
The average down payment for a first-time buyer is much higher than 5%, however. It now stands at $59,413, or 19% of the purchase price. That’s up from 16% in both 2014 and 2013.
Meanwhile, for rookie buyers needing family assistance for their purchase, they’re expecting parents or loved ones to pony up an average of 12% of the property value in equity.
But first-timers aren’t the only ones looking to family for help. Repeat buyers wanting to upsize are also increasingly relying on financial assistance from relatives – 42% of them to be exact. They expect their family to contribute a not-so-modest 20% of the property value in equity. Three cheers for generous parents.
As one might expect, these ‘upsizers’ are shopping with substantially higher budgets as well ($473,900), along with higher down payments ($123,214 on average, or 26%).
Other tidbits from BMO’s Home Buyer Report:
- 48% of first-time buyers are willing to enter into a bidding war to secure their dream home (up from 35% in 2014)
- 36% of upsizers are willing to enter a bidding war
- Without help from their family, an eye-opening 40% of first-time buyers and 50% of those wanting to upsize say they wouldn’t be able to afford their home.
We can’t help but wonder how future generations will fare if more parents are unprepared for retirement and unable to donate such large chunks to their children’s home-buying dreams. No one knows when this trend will turn, but if it does, it could have a measurable impact. Indeed, the parental assistance effect may be meaningfully underestimated in Canada’s housing market as it is.
Sidebar: BMO recommends buyers of all types stick to the “one-third” rule if they want to ensure they are living within their means. Simply put, total housing costs, such as mortgage payment, property taxes, heating costs, etc., shouldn’t consume more than one-third of one’s overall household income.
Robert McLister & Steve Huebl
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