First-Time Buyers Have Options


By Mark McLean, TREB President

Considering the purchase of your first home? Like many of life’s milestones there are points you should consider such as market conditions, financing and more. Don’t let these words daunt you, because we have broken down the main points for easy digestion.

Market Conditions

Understanding conditions in the property market is a good initial step. Current conditions in the Greater Toronto Area resale market remain quite agreeable for people looking to take step one onto the property ladder. The housing market in the GTA is still supported by improving business conditions, which have led on to sustained job creation, a lower jobless rate and accelerating revenue growth.


Financing remains reasonable too. The average interest rate for a five-year fixed mortgage is very low from an unprecedented point of view. To qualify to get an insured mortgage through your bank, today’s low interest rates provide for very controllable carrying costs. Of course, coming up with a down payment for an average-priced home may seem hard, but there are efficient methods you can employ to make that mark reachable. See ‘Ways to Save for a Down Payment’ for more info.

Personal Finances

It is also vital to closely inspect your individual circumstances, particularly when determining what you are able to afford. Financial institutions will help you to decide what you can afford by calculating your Gross Debt Service ( GDS ) ratio, an amount that includes monthly mortgage, tax, and utilities payments and a portion of condominium maintenance ( if applicable ).

Your GDS ratio typically should not exceed 32 per cent of your gross monthly earnings. A lender will also look at your absolute debt picture by calculating your debt Service ( TDS ) ratio, taking under consideration all duties like your monthly mortgage, auto loan, credit line and credit card duties. As a rule, your TDS ratio should not surpass 40 % of your gross monthly earnings. Be certain to explore of the financing options available through different banks establishments.

When determining a price range it’s important to realistically consider miscellaneous monthly expenses, and to account for expenses related to the exchange including home inspection, survey and legal costs.


Once you are ready to start your search, contact a REALTOR  who will commit to representing your interests in writing, using a Buyer Representation Agreement. More info on this significant document can be discovered at

To find a home suited to your way of life, be totally sure to explore a selection of housing types and neighbourhoods with your REALTOR before narrowing your search. REALTORS have accessibility to information on market conditions in individual neighbourhoods, on future development plans and on a variety of local amenities.

Your REALTOR realtor could also provide info on a number of available government programs to help make your purchase more cost-effective like the Five Per cent Down payment Program, the RRSP Homebuyers’ Plan, the First Time Home Buyers’ Credit, Land Transfer Tax rebates and more.

Once you have found the right fit, your REALTOR can use their expert negotiation skills to help you achieve a favourable agreement.

Specialized skills and knowledge make your REALTOR an invaluable resource, buoying your activities as you navigate through one of life’s most critical decisions.