What does the average first-time homebuyer look like? Who are they? What do they have saved and what will they spend? We profile the average first-time homebuyer by the numbers.

If you are looking forward to one day being a first-time homebuyer, chances are you are starting to plan for that purchase today. Purchasing your first home is one of the most exciting experiences you will have in your life, and is one of the largest purchases you will ever make. The act of homebuying involves considerable sacrifice in order to save up for the deposit and finding a home to suit your needs. While everyone is generally on a different path, knowing what the average first-time homebuyer in Canada looks like can certainly help in knowing whether you are ahead of the game or slightly behind.

The Average First-Time Homebuyer in Canada

If you are in your twenties, thinking about homeownership should definitely be something on your mind. While it may not be something you can afford to do for a number of years, starting to plan immediately will help you. The average first-time homebuyer in Canada has three unique characteristics:

  1. They are generally in their late 20s. In a study conducted by BMO in 2013, which surveyed 2000 first-time homebuyers, the average homebuyer was determined to be about 29 years old.
  2. They buy a home valued at $316,100 on average. This number is different in major cities, such as Vancouver where the average is $506,500, Toronto at $408,300, Calgary at $363,400 and in Montreal where the cost is less than the national average at $237,900.
  3. On average, a first-time homebuyer in Canada has $50,576 to put towards their down payment. This means that the average homebuyer has about 16% of the cost of the home, meaning they need to insure their mortgages with an insurer like Genworth (as mortgage insurance is required when a buyer has less than a 20% down payment).
The Average First-Time Homebuyer by Province

Homebuyers are vastly different based on the province they live in. The average home prices compared to the average amount spent by first-time homebuyers in a province helps to illustrate the cost of living and affordability in each of Canada’s provincial regions.

  • The average home in Atlantic Canada is $212,622, while the average first-time homebuyer spends $204,400.
  • The average home in Quebec is $263,661 while the average first-time homebuyer spends $222,300.
  • The average home in Ontario is $423,691, while the average first-time homebuyer spends $358,400.
  • The average home in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is $275,104 while the average first-time homebuyer spends $226,100.
  • The average home in Alberta is $407,540, while the average first-time homebuyer spends $364,700.
  • The average home in British Columbia is $611,688 while the average first-time homebuyer spends $430,300.
Other First-Time Homebuyer Statistics

The study also found out some interesting statistics related to first-time homebuyers.

  • About one third (30%) of all first-time homebuyers are expecting some assistance from their parents or other members of their family with their purchase. In both Montreal and Vancouver, these numbers are significantly higher at about 40%.
  • 60 per cent of potential first-time homebuyers have had to delay their plans to buy, with close to 40 per cent of those people saying that the increasing cost of real estate has been the main reason for the delay.
  • Most first-time homebuyers (60%) set a fixed budget with a maximum amount they would want to spend on their home, but a third of them would be willing to spend more if they found a dream house outside of their set budget.

The question you need to pose to yourself is – how prepared are you? If you already have a larger deposit saved, perhaps you can invest in a slightly better property. If you are behind the average, consider services like Genworth’s down payment options.

Statistics for this post derived from BMO First-time Homebuyers Report unless otherwise stated. The poll was conducted by Pollara between January 24th and March 6th, 2014. 513 first-time Canadian homebuyers 18 years of age and older were polled. As a guideline, a probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 4.3%, 19 times out of 20.

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