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MONEY ADVICE 

 

To Rent or To Buy? That is the Question

5 minute read

 


It is an age-old question. One that has troubled countless Canadians for decades. As the market shifts, the question is becoming even more important. The answer is not simple, and not the same for every Canadian.

The renting and buying debates are about more than just finances. With housing markets and rents setting unprecedented levels, especially in the largest Canadian cities like Vancouver, it is not only about having a down payment. It depends on your lifestyle, current financial situation, and your long-term goals.

Over the past few years, several things have changed. There has been an uptick in remote work and shifts in the global economy that many are taking into consideration as they consider making the leap to home ownership.

Owning a home is a landmark event. It is an important decision that is often the result of a lot of hard work.

There is a lot to consider as you start to weigh out your options for home-ownership. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons for renting and buying and make a decision that sets you up for success, now and in the future.

Advantages for buying and renting


Buying

  • Generally, homeowners have a higher net worth after 25 years
  • Mortgages have a time frame, once paid off your monthly cash flow increases
  • A hard asset such as a house presents significant collateral to secure additional financing
  • Ability to participate in market movements and capitalize on real estate price increases
  • Stability and the ability to adjust your home including renovations


Renting

  • According to CBC, if renters actively invest, they can accumulate a net worth of approximately $1 - $2 million in investible assets after 25 years
  • Less responsibility for home maintenance (in condominiums no responsibility for maintenance costs)
  • Low Initial cost: first- and last-months rent
  • Annual rent increases are capped by the provincial government


Vacancy rates continue to decrease across Canada. In 2021, the rental market tightened, according to the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Rental Market Report. The average asking rent in Vancouver, according to the same report, was about 10% higher than the overall average rent for occupied units. Although renting may come with some protection, if a move is required, due to life changes or a landlord moving in, there could be a significant increase in monthly renting costs.

It is important to note that in a study conducted by Royal Lepage in September 2021, for those that were able to save for a 20% down payment, secure a 25 year mortgage and plan to stay in their home for upwards of 10 years, buying was more financially beneficial. This was true for 91% of the cases analyzed. It is true many benefits come with home ownership.

The important questions


The questions that most people often wonder are:

  • How will I get there?
  • How do I save for a down payment while I rent?
  • Can I afford a home if prices continue to rise?


Questions that you should be asking include:

  • What are your goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 20 years?
  • What type of lifestyle do you want now and in the future?


Tips for saving while renting

With rising house costs, buying might feel like a challenge. It also might not feel realistic to save for a down payment. It might not be easy, but there are ways that you can increase your savings to get into the housing market.

Lower your rent

If you are living in a two-bedroom condo, you could re-evaluate and get a one-bedroom or two-bedroom in a purpose-built rental. The difference in Vancouver is that a two-bedroom condo rents at approximately $2,498 and a two-bedroom purpose-built rental is about $1,824 a month, according to the Rental Market Report. A purpose-built rental is a unit in a privately initiated structure of three units or more, typically they are apartments or row houses.

This means that you could save more than $600 a month for a down payment, just from your rent!

Rent your extra space

If you have a partner or live on your own, you could consider getting a roommate to help with the cost of renting. Use their contribution towards your down payment!

Analyze your household expenses

Every dollar saved helps in your journey to homeownership. Create a budget and stick to it. Look for alternatives for utility bills, phone bills and subscriptions. With a few simple lifestyle shifts, you could be saving like a pro.

Boost your savings

Take a look at your savings accounts. Are you maximizing your return potential? Are you working with a financial professional that can guide you on the best investments such as GICs / term deposits?

Take advantage of our Home Sweet Bonus® account, if you’re thinking of buying in the next few years, you could earn up to $1000 on us*. All you have to do is open an account, deposit $100 and continue to save $100 a month for the next 12 - 36 months. Once you’re ready to buy let us know and we’ll deposit the bonus into your account. You can use the bonus for whatever you like, put it towards moving or closing costs or perhaps that larger TV you’ve always wanted, it’s up to you!

Getting into the market

It is important to ensure you are saving effectively and using all the programs available to first-time homebuyers as you start looking for a home and calculate how much you need for a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. Don’t guess! Use our mortgage calculator to estimate how much you may be able to borrow and what your monthly payments might be.

Make the most of your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), which has the added bonus in Canada of the Home Buyers Plan. As a first-time buyer, you can lend yourself up to $35,000 (or $70,000 if your buying partner has never owned a home before) tax-free! There is a 15-year repayment period, but it doesn’t start until two years after you withdraw the money.

After you have determined how much of your savings can support your down payment, you might consider speaking to family members who may help by gifting some money. There is no gift tax in Canada and no limit on the amount that can be given. It is not taxable as income or deductible as an expense.

Get expert advice

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question, it will depend on your situation and where you currently are in both your life and career. However, we can help set you up to make the most out of your current income and savings. Having a good understanding of your financial situation may help you answer the question, should I rent or buy? Talk to an advisor today!



*Terms and conditions apply. Please visit Home Sweet Bonus® for more details.