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Recent immigrants tend to live in our largest and most expensive urban centres Toronto Vancouver Montreal. In the GTA all net population growth is based on immigration says Jason Mercer Director Market Analysis and Service Channels Toronto Real Estate Board. Theres a key reason for that we have one of the most diverse areas in North America. So theres already a basis of the population new Canadians can relate to. Thats why we see people moving into the Greater Golden Horseshoe which includes the area from St. Catharines to Durham. Those are the largest urbanized areas in Canada so they offer a lot of opportunities in the job market and also the real estate market. While most new immigrants rent housing when they first arrive Many newcomers want to get into the real estate market says Derek Burleton VP and Deputy Chief Economist at TD Bank. And why not Homeownership historically has been a good investment says Mercer. Even after a recession the housing market has shown strong rebound and sustained price growth. Why now is a good time Canadian real estate is hot right now and an important contributing factor is our historically low interest rates. That means the cost of carrying a mortgage is lower than ever but theres another factor at play rising home prices. The reason for that is simple demand is outstripping supply. When theres a constrained number of listings prices go up says Mercer. This is especially true for large urban centres like the GTA where the average price for a detached home is 816000. Numbers like that however dont tell the whole story. Headlines gravitate towards million-dollar homes but thats not to say you cant get into a semi a row house or townhome for 400000 or 500000 says Mercer. Theres always a trade off in terms of commute and size of home you may have to move further from downtown or to the suburbs to find those prices but there is choice. One choice that buyers in general and newcomers in particular are making is the condo alternative. The biggest wave of real estate activity is in the condo markets says Burleton. Condo development has been driving the new construction market since 2008. Theres more supply and a little more choice for buyers says Mercer. Price increases have also been lower for condos than for single- family homes. Bottom-line newcomers could have better luck finding an affordable home in the condo market than in the single-family home market. Affordability is key for all buyers but recent arrivals sometimes struggle more with that issue. When it comes to income newcomers do catch up with long-term residents but those first few years are spent building and Bottom-line newcomers could have better luck finding an affordable home in the condo market than in the low-rise market. 12 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 COVER STORY CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA