Monday, December 01, 2014

Here’s what we know about First-Time Homebuyers

In May 2014, the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) completed an on-line survey of 860 first-time buyers from across Canada. All who responded had taken a mortgage transaction in the previous 12 months and all were one of the prime decision-makers within their household for matters relating to housing finance and mortgages.

First-Time Buyers and Technology

  • The majority of First-time buyers (84%) went online when gathering information about mortgage options and features. Among these, more than half (55%) went to lender sites and one-third went to broker sites. First-time buyers showed a high likelihood of visiting a broker site (33%).
  • Overall, First-time buyers were much more active online compared to other mortgage consumers – they engaged in a variety of activities -- 80% used a mortgage calculator, 63% completing a financial self assessment, 42% either got pre-approved or filled an online form and 20% engaged in an online conversation.
  • Twenty-three per cent used mobile devices to access mortgage related information, however; desktops are still preferred by almost nine-in-ten.
  •  The use of social media as a tool when looking for a mortgage is increasing and was much more prevalent. In 2014, 40% of First-time buyers going online looked to social media when researching their mortgage options. This up from 28% one year ago. Social media used -- 58% used Facebook, and 38% used either online forums or blogs. Overall, online forums and blogs were found to be the most useful social media platforms for mortgage related information. Half of First-Time Buyers using online forums and 44% using blogs rated the information obtained through these platforms as “very useful.”
  •  Social media is starting to play a role in how first-time buyers interact online. About one-in-five using social media (21%) posted a review or rating of either a broker or lender and 30% used social media to find a referral to use a specific professional (i.e. broker, lender, real estate agent or other professional).
Homebuying Process

  • During the home buying process first-time buyers interacted with a variety of individuals. Seventy-nine per cent were in contact with a family member, 73% with a mortgage lender or a 72% with a real estate agent. Slightly more than half (55%) reported interacting with a mortgage broker.
  •  Overall, 60% of first-time buyers mentioned that they had concerns during the home buying process. The nature of the concerns or uncertainty stems mostly from unforeseen costs. Forty per cent reported they actually incurred unexpected expenses during the home buying process. Among those unforeseen costs, the most common were adjustments (40%), lawyer fees (36%) and land transfer taxes (30%).
Experience with Lenders and Brokers

  • Approximately four-in-ten (37%) of first-time buyers received a recommendation to use a specific mortgage professional. These recommendations came primarily from family members and real estate agents. Among those receiving a recommendation to use a specific lender, 37% came from a family member and 22% from a real estate agent.
  • Almost half (48%) arranged their mortgage through a mortgage broker.
  • Among those using a broker, 50% reported obtaining a mortgage with a lender other than the financial institution they were dealing with the most at the time.
  •  Seventy per cent were satisfied with their mortgage professional and showed a greater likelihood of using their broker again in the future.

The survey findings are positive indicators that consumers are increasing their knowledge about financial matters. Consumers who educate themselves about their financial options are able to make consistent, informed financial decisions and that will help them to achieve their goals.

The survey also makes clear that mortgage professionals are in a unique position to help educate consumers about their mortgage options and ways to pay off that mortgage sooner. 

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