With house prices everywhere rising, many young people in big urban centres are renting or living with their parents until they can afford a down payment.
There is some good news for young people living in Prince George, BC. With jobs available and much lower housing costs, many young people are able to afford homes much sooner than they would in a big city.
What does a starter home cost in Prince George?
It really depends what your expectations are for your first home, but there are properties on the market for under $200,000. Starter homes are often small, or basic, or in need of a bit of work, but they are an excellent way onto the property ladder.
Your options as a home buyer will really start to open up around the $250,000 – $275,000 mark as the average house price in Prince George is about $270,000.
How can I save for a down payment?
- Put some money away every month into an RRSP. Unlike the money sitting in your bank account, you won’t be able to access this money until you retire, but you can put your RRSP contributions towards a down payment on your first home as part of the Home Buyers’ Plan.
- Scale back on extras. Keep all your receipts for one month and find out what you are spending money on that you don’t really need. Also look at your monthly plans for ongoing expenses such as internet, TV and mobile phones, and see if it is possible to downgrade any of these plans and still get the services you need.
- Wait on other big purchases. It could a one-off purchase such as a new TV or a vacation, or it could be an ongoing expense such as a second vehicle, or even getting pets. If you don’t need these things right away, you’ll find it easier to save without them.
- Earn more. Cutting back isn’t the only way to save. Earning more helps too. If you’re able to pick up a few extra shifts every month, take on a side job or ask for a raise, that money can be put towards your future home.
- Live at home. Most young people aren’t too keen on the idea of moving back home, and some parents aren’t too happy about it either! However, it can be a great way to avoid throwing money away on rent and might help you get on the property ladder sooner.
How can I find out if I can afford a home?
The CMHC provides various online calculators to help you figure out the impact of buying a home on your finances. They will give you an idea of the maximum mortgage you can afford, the impact on your household budget, and what your monthly mortgage payment might be.
Once you’re ready to take the next step, talk to a mortgage broker or bank about getting preapproved for a mortgage. This is the only way you’ll know for sure if you’ll be able to get a mortgage and how much you will be approved for.
Once you’re preapproved, it’s time to start talking to a Realtor®. If you’re looking in Prince George, BC or surrounding areas, our expert Realtors® would love to help you find your first home. Our services are completely free to home buyers.