BUSINESS
10/26/2018 17:05 EDT | Updated 10/26/2018 21:56 EDT

Prospective 1st-Time Homebuyers Are Even More Screwed Than Before

It's been a "really tough twelve months" for first-time buyers, and it's only going to get worse.

Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins and Governor Stephen Poloz leave the Bank of Canada building for a press conference in Ottawa on Oct. 24, 2018.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins and Governor Stephen Poloz leave the Bank of Canada building for a press conference in Ottawa on Oct. 24, 2018.

The Bank of Canada rate hike is expected to take a bite out of Canadian mortgage-holders' wallets, but for those looking to buy a home for the first time, it puts ownership even further out of reach.

As widely predicted, the central bank announced Wednesday it would be raising its benchmark interest rate to 1.75 per cent.

The bank cited a stronger economy and the recently-announced trade deal with the United States and Mexico as reasons for the increase.

Watch: Poloz says central bank changing approach to interest rate hikes. Story continues below.

Ratehub co-founder James Laird said it's been a "really tough 12 months" for first-time buyers, who have seen rates increase three times this year, after a stress test at the beginning of 2018.

Laird said the problem is especially pointed in bigger cities like Toronto, where rent has also climbed.

"It's tough, because the idea is you're supposed to rent and that's supposed to be cheaper, you're supposed to be able to save while you're renting," he said.

"If rental rates are going up by 10 per cent a year, you're having a really tough time putting any money aside for your down payment."

'Everyone should be prepared'

Laird said anyone looking to buy their first house in the next few years should be making budget calculations based on rates that are two or three per cent higher than they are now.

"That's what really everyone should be doing right now, whether you are planning on entering the market next year or three years from now, or you currently have a mortgage that'll be up for renewal in a couple of years," said Laird.

"Rates aren't always 3 per cent like they have been for the last decade."

"Everyone should be prepared and not be blindsided."

Rates aren't always 3 per cent like they have been for the last decade.James Laird, Ratehub

A report from Environics Analytics also shows first-time homebuyers and younger families who may live on the edge of big cities among those under the most pressure from a rate hike.

"These younger families have not had time to build up their capital and will find their consumption and saving rates pinched, particularly by the increased interest payments on their higher mortgage balances."

Laird said millennials represent an entire generation that may not know that the five-year fixed mortgage rates of three per cent— rates they've seen throughout their adult lives — are historical lows "that we have never seen before until the last 10 years."

"And so they should think about and plan for and know that it is very plausible and likely that mortgage rates will be 4, 5, 6 per cent, and it could be higher than that," he said.

Monthly payments up $172 for variable-rate holders: Ratehub

The average home price in Canada is $487,000, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Using Ratehub's mortgage calculator, if a homeowner put a 10 per cent down payment on a home at the beginning of 2018, priced at $487,000 amortized over 25 years with a five-year variable rate of 2.45 per cent, they would have had a monthly mortgage payment of $2,013.

Since rates have gone up three times this year, this means that homeowner would now be paying $172 more than they were at the start of the year.

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