When you consider the amount of rent people pay today, it is obvious that many of them can afford monthly mortgage payments, but it is the down payment that usually holds them back from buying. With today’s new home and condo prices, as well as the new stress tests on mortgage approvals, what’s a first-time buyer to do? As challenging as it is to enter the marketplace, people are buying their first homes every day. They are finding ways, because they understand the wisdom of owning, as a lifestyle and financial investment for their future.

My advice is to do whatever you can to buy the most you can. First, look at what the government has in place to help you in the form of tax credits, RRSP withdrawal allowances and GST/HST rebates. When you shop for a new home or condominium suite, chat with the sales representatives about potential incentives that will make your choice more affordable. Trust me, builders and developers WANT to help you get into homeownership.

Think of other things as well. Can your family help with the down payment? CMHC reports that one in four buyers is getting financial help from their parents.

Might you co-purchase a suite or home with a friend or relative? Another consideration is adjusting your attitude toward your first home. Nowadays, most first-time buyers turn to condominiums because it is what they can afford. With the ongoing demand for condos in the GTA, this is a wise first step into homeownership. Even the most compact suite designs “live” larger than their square footage. And even living in a studio layout at a good address is better than paying someone else’s mortgage with rent.

SO – my advice is to get into the market a.s.a.p. and start earning equity. Pull out all the stops. Check out CMHC’s “Homebuying Step By Step” and “Condominium buyer’s guide” online at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/. You will be glad you did!