2020 was a year like no other. There was a pandemic, huge job losses and, one could say an historic recession. As we continue to evolve this new and changing world, we look to mortgage consumers to tell us how they feel about the housing market across Canada.
As part of our latest Mortgage Consumer Survey, we surveyed over 3,500 recent mortgage consumers across Canada to better understand their behaviours, attitudes and expectations when it comes to their mortgage.
Types of mortgage consumers we surveyed:
- Renewed an existing mortgage
- Refinanced an existing mortgage
- First-time buyer
- Repeat buyer
Other reports indicated that 2020 showed significant regional disparities with regard to economic impact on housing markets. Overall, we discovered through the Mortgage Consumer Survey, that most consumers indicated no change to their housing needs because of COVID-19 despite several lockdowns.
Here are some of the findings from this year’s survey.
Most mortgage consumers indicated no change to their housing needs because of COVID-19
The top reason buyers purchased a home in the last 18 months was because they considered it a safe and secure investment. Despite the pandemic, 84% of mortgage consumers indicated no impact to their housing needs. Two-thirds further indicated no change in their buying timeline.
Most (80%) were aware of the mortgage payment deferral agreement for homeowners. Among those who were aware, 16% took advantage of it and 67% thought it was helpful.
Almost 3/4 of first-time buyers (72%) were aware of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. Of those who were aware, 52% participated in the program. The majority (81%) agreed that it’s a good way to help first-time buyers enter the housing market.
Realtors are considered the most valuable people during the home buying process
Nearly half (46%) of buyers had concerns or felt uncertainty during the home buying process. More than 1/3 of buyers (37%) indicated that the most valuable person during the home buying process was their real estate agent. This was followed by family at 17%.
Over 3/4 of mortgage consumers (76%) researched mortgage-related information online. The most popular website visited was a specific lender site (39%) followed by an interest comparison site.
The majority of mortgage consumers chose a 5-year fixed rate mortgage (70%) and an amortization period of 24 years or less (65%).
Consumer confidence is high when it comes to making future mortgage payments
The majority (85%) of homeowners did not indicate difficulties maintaining their schedule of mortgage payments during the pandemic. However, younger homeowners are facing a greater impact than their older counterparts.
The same proportion of mortgage consumers also agreed that homeownership is a good long-term financial investment. This is despite 65% of buyers paying the maximum price they could afford on the purchase of their home.
Even with the economic downturn, 74% of homeowners were positive about their current housing situation. Nearly half (47%) of mortgage consumers plan to renovate to customize their homes to meet their needs and preference