Houses for sale in Ottawa

“I’m seeing more borrowers being required to be added to the file, so we’re using all of our abilities to bring in every piece of income that we can for a borrower,” she said.

“The child tax credit, the first-time homebuyer grant – we’re using all the pieces we can to get them into the market. But first-time homebuyers are still there, they’re strong, and they’re still buying homes.”

The federal government’s first-time homebuyer incentive, which offered new buyers assistance funding a downpayment through a shared equity program, has proven virtually unusable in red-hot markets because it only provides a loan of up to 10% the downpayment amount for a newly constructed home, and 5% for a resale or existing home.

That’s normally not sufficient to substantially reduce affordability hurdles – but Pikkert said the program hasn’t proven successful among her clients either, with the shared equity component usually the sticking point.

“I know I offer it to a lot of my prospective buyers, but there’s still a hesitation on their part,” she said. “They feel they don’t want the government to have a second mortgage on their property – so I’m going to say maybe only 5% of my buyers [use it].”

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