Fewer first-time homebuyers in B.C. this year: notaries

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Notaries across British Columbia saw “an overall decrease in first-time buyers in most regions of the province” in 2018, according to the Society of Notaries Public of BC.

What the province’s notaries collectively saw in 2018 was "an overall decrease in first-time homebuyers in most regions of the province" according to spokesperson Brenda Jones.

Their numbers also revealed that first-time homebuyers were more likely than in recent years to get financial help from parents to afford down payments.

Overall, said Jones, there was a 59 per cent decrease in first-time homebuyers. For those who did take the step to buy a first home, 83 per cent got parental help with the money.

When asked about why these signs of difficulty had emerged, 76 per cent of notaries across the province reported that the price of a house in their market was an issue.

The main three factors impacting their local markets, notaries collectively reported, were increased mortgage restrictions, rising interest rates, and lack of supply.

"You'll see that responses in northern B.C. were far different than in the rest of the province," Jones said.

"More notaries in northern B.C. reported an increase (30 per cent) or no change (40 per cent) in first-time buyer activity in 2018 than in other regions," Jones specified.

"Unlike the rest of the province where home prices are a considerable factor, only 10 per cent of notaries consider it an issue in northern B.C."

Real estate transactions, when looked at in aggregate, often reflect a region's economy.

For northern B.C., said Jones, "notaries cited increasing interest in buying in most communities due to resource sector growth."

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