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The Hardships of Being a Single Homebuyer in Winnipeg

7 October 2012

It’s never easy being on your own and looking for a home. No matter the price range or the area you’re looking in, there’s one fact you won’t be able to escape – you’ll still be responsible for that mortgage payment all on your own. This is going to be a bigger challenge for any single person around Canada, and the latest stats coming out of Winnipeg show just how hard that is.

TD Canada Trust in Toronto did their own research, showing that more than half of men buy their first home alone; while just under a third of women do.

Could this be because men are still making higher salaries than women? Maybe, but the actual cause for the numbers don’t matter. At least a few of those buyers are in Winnipeg, and it’s here that it might be one of the hardest places for singles to buy a home. The chart below shows why.

The price of a home in Winnipeg has nearly tripled in the last 10 years. That’s much the same news you’ll find coming out of most Canadian markets – but it’s different here. The average income in Winnipeg has only increased $2,000 over the past ten years – while the average income of a person living in Toronto is anywhere from $75,000 – $100,000. Yes, the housing prices are also higher in TO, but incomes have also climbed much more steadily in order to keep up with them. In 2005, the average Torontonian yearly income was anywhere between $40,000 – $50,000. That means that, on average, Torontonians have seen their income nearly double; while in Winnipeg they still meander along trying to get excited about the smallest boost.

Add all the income data and housing prices to the fact that Winnipeg lenders are also more wary of lending to single people, and the case gets even worse for those in Manitoba’s capital city.

Rosa Bovino, Winnipeg mortgage broker, says that while single buyers need to worry about that Winnipeg mortgage, they also need to worry about just being approved for it. Here, lenders are wary to lend to single buyers because they simply don’t think they’ll be able to afford it. Lenders will take things such as property tax and monthly expenses, and add those to the mortgage. This of course, increases the cost of home ownership, and leaves less in the already-small incomes for single buyers to actually afford to live.

This is no different than the standards lenders around the country hold their buyers to, but there is a small difference in Winnipeg. It’s simply not a major city centre and so, single buyers simply aren’t as common. That means that when they come up, they are looked at a little more closely than those in other cities.

So what’s the advice for singles living in Winnipeg, and who want to buy a home? Bovino says the secret lies in the down payment.

“Number one is you want to save aggressively for as big a down payment as possible to make your monthly mortgage payment more affordable,” she says. This of course, brings the cost down of the mortgage, and lenders will look more kindly on any buyer who has a larger down payment.

What do you think? Is it harder for single buyers in Winnipeg than in Toronto? Or do you think that singles all across the country face the same hardships when trying to buy a home?

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